Imperial College London

Blueprint for national organ donation and transplant programmes


Organ donation box being carried.

A Special Issue of Transplant International presents a blueprint for the components of successful national organ donation and transplant programmes.

A combined team from the Department of Surgery and Cancer and the LSE Department of Health Policy, led by Professor Vassilios Papalois and Professor Elias Mossialos, has published a Special Issue in Transplant International: "Maximising Potential in Organ Donation and Transplantation: Transferrable Paradigms".

The Special Issue presents a comprehensive conceptual framework for the components of successful national organ donation and transplant programmes. The goal of this framework is to guide assessments of such programmes, enabling the identification and prioritisation of policies aimed at improving access, efficiency and responsiveness of organ donation and transplantation services. 

The eight papers in the Special Issue were extrapolated from a report for a New National Solid Organ Donation and Transplantation Plan in Greece, which was undertaken as a national initiative for the renaissance of the transplant sector in Greece. That report was written by an international panel of experts for the Greek National Plan for Solid Organ Donation and Transplantation, including Professors Papalois and Mossialos, and was funded by the Onassis Foundation. The report, presented to the Greek government and endorsed by the President and Prime Minister in 2021, was signed into legislation in March 2023. 

Features of successful organ donation and transplantation systems

In the Special Issue, the team presents a collection of insightful country case studies that showcase the unique attributes contributing to the success of organ donation and transplant programs in Croatia, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The case studies not only shed light on these distinct features but also delve into the valuable lessons that can be learned and implemented by other nations.

Furthermore, the team employs the same framework to analyze the organ donation and transplant system in Greece, which has comparatively exhibited weaker performance. They provide considerate recommendations for its reform and advancement, aiming to enhance the well-being and care of individuals facing organ failure.

The Special Issue emphasises the shared characteristics found in successful organ donation and transplantation systems, offering valuable insights into transferable elements that can be adopted elsewhere to improve performance. This serves as an invaluable resource for policymakers, healthcare professionals, and researchers seeking to enhance the effectiveness of organ donation and transplantation systems.

Speaking about the papers, Professor Vassilios Papalois, Professor of Transplantation Surgery at Imperial, said: "Our great research team, Professor Mossilaos and I are very excited to share the extensive research we have been working on over the last four years, especially being able to open our findings to a broader audience.

"Our research demonstrates the common features of successful organ donation and transplantation systems and highlights transferrable elements that can be applied elsewhere with the aim of improving performance.

"We hope that our framework and the findings from our comprehensive studies can be used as a road map for the establishment of national organ donation and transplantation systems capable of attaining and sustaining world-class levels of performance."

Transplant International - Special Issue: Maximising potential in organ donation and transplantation: transferrable paradigms

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Benjie Coleman

Benjie Coleman
Department of Surgery & Cancer

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