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Transplantation Service at "Breakpoint"

  Surgeons in the operating room

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"She wanted life to be the same again as it was before the kidneys closed."

The wife of Scot Radcliffe, Gina Ravens, had been waiting four years on the transplant list for a life-saving organ.

The 62-year-old received dialysis three times a week.

Then, in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 201

7, she received the call she was waiting for – a kidney was available.

"It was like Christmas for them," says Scot. "I connected her to the dialysis machine when the call came in. She started to break loose, got dressed and left."

Gina went to a hospital in Oxford.

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Scot Radcliffe

"She was all ready and they said that as soon as they found a bed for them, they would prepare them for surgery, coming every half hour to reassure them that everything would be fine, "said Scot.

But later that afternoon, Gina got devastating news.

"They came in and said they could not find a bed for them and she would have to go home."

Gina's transplantation was stopped and as far as they understood, the organ was lost.

The Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it could not comment on individual cases, but 5 Live Investigates said that "decisions taken to care for a single patient are in the best interest of the patient." Doctors are taken ".

She added that the majority of grafts did not require an intensive care bed in the past year and that it is accustomed to receiving an increasing number of transplants.

For Scot, the idea that organ donation was not used is something he finds extremely difficult.

"I can not help but believe that the family that donated the kidney would be as devastated as I am, if not more."

& # 39; Breaking Point & # 39;

Although Gina's case is rare, she is not unique.

Prof. Nizam Mamode is chair of the Chapter of Surgeons of the British Transplantation Society. He told the program that the transplant service was "more than creaky."

He says the availability of intensive care beds, difficulties in access to operating theaters, staff shortages and the provision of off-hours services are putting additional pressure on a service striving to keep up with demand.

"I think it really is a turning point, I do not think people can work any longer on that basis, and I think it needs urgent action.

" The transplant was a great success , The number of grafts has increased by about 50% in the last eight to ten years, but the workload has increased for all. "

Prof Mamode said the transplant team regularly puts surgeons under" very, very significant "stress on extremely long shifts without a break.

" Maximizing Opportunities "

From next year Adults in England are considered as potential donors if they are not eliminated or expelled.

However, an impact assessment was carried out. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), which was obtained from the Guardian newspaper and seen by the BBC, found that the system is already under pressure.

Organ removal staff have been found to be "extremely stressed" It will take several years for the effects of the changes to take full effect. "Transplant capacities are already experiencing difficulties in some units Demand for Demand. "

A Welsh government spokesman said there were seldom cases where organs were unable to They were fetched for lack of capacity, but everything was done to prevent this from happening.

They added that they worked with NHSBT and hospitals across the UK "to ensure that the opportunities for organ donation and transplantation within existing resources are maximized."

Meanwhile, the Scottish government said that the capacity issues faced by parts of the NHS in England "are not replicated in Scottish transplant facilities", but continue to monitor the situation closely. In addition, it is "very rare in Scotland" that a transplant system is sinking an organ due to capacity problems. "

In Northern Ireland, people are currently opting to donate organs and tissues.

According to Professor Mamode, the change in law in England is a good one News for the patients, but capacity problems are already having an effect.

"We know of some cases across the country where an organ is not transplanted due to lack of capacity, because the organ, once you have a very long time, no longer for the transplant is appropriate – this is a rare event, but that's what happened. "

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), which oversees transplant services across the UK, told 5 Live Investigates that it was not possible to provide data on how many times an organ had not been used for capacity issues.

& # 39; Challenging & # 39;

Scot says the fact that his wife Gina's surgery was not carried out made her "devastating."

"She held it together long enough to get home, and he sat down and started howling. She thought it would take four more years for her to ever get another kidney or kidney chance. "

Gina received a successful transplant, but later developed an infection and died in February 2017. [19659005] A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Welfare said the new system of consent would save hundreds of lives each year.

"We fully understand that this approach represents a resource challenge, including staffing. That's why we're investing an additional £ 34 billion in cash in the NHS every year until 2023/24, and there will be a 12-month transitional period to allow for all necessary preparation.

Sally Johnson, outgoing Chief Executive and former Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHSBT, said: "Organ donation and transplantation is a highly sensitive, challenging and intense work environment in which time prevails is critical.

"Every minute counts to make sure no donation is wasted, which means we're constantly working under pressure."

She added that the number of deceased organ donors and transplants will increase with the change in the law, but the NHSBT is working "with all the organizations involved to ensure that the necessary resources are available to optimally administer each donated organ use".

You can listen to 5 Live Investigates [19459] 014] at 11:00 GMT on Sunday, March 24 and afterwards on BBC sounds.

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