Following on the theme and outcomes of the 2018 Kidney Forum, EKHA Chair, Prof Vanholder et al. have authored an article that examines the current status of kidney transplantation in Europe and offers recommendations for the improvement of transplantation rates. While considerable efforts have been made, evidence presented in this study illustrates the significant variation in transplantation rates between EU Member States. To this end and in compliment to, EKHA’s annual European Kidney Forum and newly formed Thematic Network on organ donation and transplantation, on the European Commission’s Health Policy Platform provide a timely mechanism to explore these issues further and recommend strategies for improvement.
In this article, the authors advocate for improved access to data, increased education initiatives, promotion of transplantation coordination projects and appropriate legal and financial frameworks that favour organ donation. In developing plans and targets for the EU as a whole, authors suggest countries with specific characteristics should be clustered together, depending on their baseline transplantation rates. Acknowledging that equal attention to countries with low transplantation rates, as with those with a medium or high rates, should have differentiated strategies according to their grouping, as action plans may differ depending on which areas need the most improvement.
The article uniquely reflects the patient perspective with results from the EKHA distributed 2017 patient questionnaire. The differences highlighted, underscore opportunities for improvement in patient education across the continuum. In consideration of Brexit, the article also echoes patient desires for continued and collaborative improvement between the EU and UK, highlighting that interventions to improve kidney transplantation rates have a multiplier effect on the transplantation of other organs, thus expanding their impact on a wide array of non-communicable diseases.