You probably heard Liam Donaldson on Radio 4 or read about his comments on the waiting game. It's a good title for a chapter on organ transplantation. Clearly it is not just about the kidney but by drawing attention to the issue of organ and tissue donation, Sir Liam has provoked further debate and discussion - as a result, more famililes will get to know the views and wishes of their next of kin. Why our donation rates are the lowest in Europe, by a long way, is a cause for concern and action.
The Donor Task Force should be reporting soon and will have recommendations that all hospitals and ITUs will need to take on board. But we don't need to wait for that, or restrict ourselves for those "must dos" - I know that many people put a lot of effort into the activities during National Transplant Week earlier in the month (left - photo of Donor Bus in Bolton manned by staff and patients from Hope Hospital, Salford - 506 sign-ups received on the day!) .
I have to say however that I was disappointed that there were only 2 or 3 people wearing the blue lapel ribbon at the Dialysis Summit that week - getting a kidney is a key concern for people on dialysis who are on the list, or are suitable but are not on the list! National Transplant Week did however increase web-based registrations on the OCR by 250% and during that week there were over 180 transplant related news stories in the press.
The Chief Medical Officer's report also drew attention to the healthcare associated infections and, whilst he didn't cite the fact that around 10% of MRSA cases occur in people on dialysis - usually associated with line sepsis, we all know that to be the case. You may have read earlier about the £50 million injection to re-double the efforts to reduce healthcare associated infection and MRSA in particular. I have written out to each of the clinical directors with details and with the hospital episodes statistics on access surgery. The comparison between the different regions and Trusts is fascinating. But we knew that to be the case from the recently published Renal Association - Kidney Research UK Vascular Access Audit. The Healthcare Commission and the Mandatory Enhanced Staphylococcal Surveillance (MESS) reporting will keep the spotlight on MRSA over the coming year. Also expect to see a lot more about Clostridium Difficile.
As well as the usual reading documents, Sir Liam Donaldson also produced a number of video podcasts on healthcare associated infection and organ transplantation.
Access the full report, chapters and video podcasts