With the 14th March being World Kidney Day, the NHS will be marking the week with its 1000th living kidney transplant under the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme (UKLKSS).
The UKLKSS is an initiative set up in April 2007 where a patient enters the scheme with either a friend or family member, that pair is then matched within another couple in the scheme, so when required each recipient may receive a kidney from the other’s friend or family member. This exchange programme increases the number of people who can receive transplants from living kidney donors and presents greater opportunities for patients who wait a long time for a transplant.
Confidential and anonymous
The scheme is completely confidential and anonymous and people do not know who their donor or recipient is. Pairs can be matched in either two or three-way swaps or in chains of up to three transplants.
In the chains, a volunteer known as a non-directed altruistic donor commences the process by donating their kidney to someone they do not know. The recipient of such kidney then has a friend or family member who donates to another in need, whose friend or family member also donates.
Since the scheme was set up, the UK’s kidney transplant waiting list has declined from 6,480 to 4,800 people, with the scheme playing an imperative role in the success story.
Lisa Burnapp, NHS Blood and Transplant lead nurse for kidney donation, said: “Living donation has been a major success story for the UK, with one in three patients receiving a kidney transplant from a living donor”.
Within the UK there are currently around 6,000 people on the transplant waiting list, almost 5,000 of those are waiting for a kidney, and therefore schemes such as the UKLKSS have made great strides to help reduce the number of people on the transplant waiting list.
Ally Taft a Partner in Medical Accident Group has commended the success of the programme and said “This is a major milestone in reducing the number of people on the transplant waiting list and will only help to continue to raise awareness of this scheme”.
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