EKHA participates in event on organ donation and transplant in Europe in European Parliament

In the scope of the campaign led by PHA Europe to improve Organ Donation and Transplantation across the EU, EKHA contributed to the event “Improving organ donation and transplant across the EU: A cross-condition campaign” held on the 18th of October in the European Parliament in Brussels, under the auspices of MEP Hilde Vautmans, MEP Ivan Jacovcic and MEP Alojz Peterle. The event was the occasion for all interested stakeholders from EU policy makers to healthcare professionals, patients and health advocacy organisations to discuss ways to improve organ donation and transplantation across the EU, looking at the regulatory and logistics aspects of organ donation and transplantation as well as at the medical and awareness components.

Participants and speakers outlined the low awareness of Europeans on organ donation and transplantation and the need for pan European campaigns to raise awareness and increase the availability of organs in Europe.

Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Mr Stefaan van der Spiegel, team leader for substances of human origins at DG SANTE gave an overview of the EU approach on the issue. While stressing that the EU competency in the field related to the quality and safety of organs intended for transplantation, he noted that the European Commission was committed to support awareness raising activities at national level, support the training of specialised professionals and the exchange of best practices, which is the aim of the new pilot project on organ donation and transplantation EDITH “Effect of Differing Chronic Kidney Disease Treatment Modalities and Transplantation Practices on Health Expenditure and Patient Outcomes” which will start soon and for which ERA-EDTA Registry is leading Work Package 4. He stressed that the mid term evaluation of the EU Action Plan on organ donation and transplantation will be completed by mid-2017. He also shared the European Commission new infographic on organ donation and transplantation which was released on the occasion of the European Organ Donation Day.

Amongst the discussions were outlined the need for greater dialogue between health professionals and patients pre and post transplantation, the need for greater training of emergency doctors and intensive care physicians and the need for increased cross-border multistakeholder collaboration to deal with the challenge.

Mrs Sally Johnson representing the UK NHS provided information on the measures taken in the UK to deal with the situation, including:
– Ensuring that people feel proud of being organ donors
– Ensuring adequate and strong care and follow up for donors
– Strengthening healthcare services
She further noted that the time when the family is approached for consent to donate organs of a deceased family member is essential and that training facilitators who engage in dialogue with families is key.

Mrs Hélène Le Borgne, Policy officer in the Unit for cross-border health care and former policy officer responsible for organ donation and transplantation, highlighted the importance of raising awareness on organ donation via the media and explained that the European Commission also promotes awareness building for communication officers via dedicated workshops.

Prof. Vanholder, EKHA Chairman, was invited to provide insights on EKHA activities in the field, and gave developments on the challenges and options for change linked with organ donation in Europe, referring in particular to the different consent systems for organ donation and the need for awareness raising amongst the general public.

MEP Peterle especially underlined the need to raise an organ donation culture in Europe. Watch to MEP Peterle giving his views on the issue here.

Concluding the meeting, MEP Jacovcic informed of the launch of a written declaration on organ donation and transplantation in the coming months.