NHS boss angry at transplant organs for foreigners

A leading National Health Service hospital has come under attack from the government’s transplant authority for giving livers from dead Britons to overseas European Union patients in private operations.

More than 40 procedures using organs from British donors have been carried out on foreigners at King’s College hospital, London, over two years.

According to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), the trade undermines Gordon Brown’s £4.5m attempt to increase organ donations and creates an “obvious potential conflict of interest”. It accused King’s of “a persistent lack of clarity” over the trade.

The criticisms appear in correspondence released to The Sunday Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

Lynda Hamlyn, chief executive of NHSBT, wrote in one letter to the hospital: “This is the third specific issue of concern raised by UK Transplant [part of NHSBT] over the past four years about the transplantation of livers from deceased UK donors into nonUK residents undertaken on a private basis at King’s.

“People joining the organ donor register and families giving consent for organ donation need to be completely confident that UK residents . . . are treated fairly.”

In one week following publication in The Sunday Times last month of figures on private transplants given to foreigners at King’s, 22 people withdrew their names from the organ donor register in protest.

Tim Smart, chief executive, denied King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust had failed to give clarity. He said EU patients had the same legal entitlement as British patients to receive donated organs.


Last month Health Direct posted Outrage over NHS organ donations sold to foreigners
when the organs of 50 British National Health Service donors have been given to foreign patients who have paid about £75,000 each for private transplant operations in the past two years, freedom of information documents show.

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