British Liver Trust response to BBC article “Young people wait four times longer for liver transplants”

Posted on: 18th August 2023

In response to the BBC news story - Young people wait four times longer for liver transplants - BBC News - published today, Pamela Healy, chief executive officer at the British Liver Trust says:

“The British Liver Trust cannot comment on individual cases. However, we know that the liver transplant waiting list is the largest it has ever been and there has been a 50% increase in the number of adults waiting for liver transplant now compared with 2019/20.  Every day we hear heartbreaking stories from patients who are waiting for a transplant. It is really important that we increase the numbers of transplants to meet the needs of these patients, shorten their waiting times and ensure fewer people die on the waiting list and we would urge everyone to make their wishes known about being an organ donor to their loved ones. Currently only around half of the UK population have done this.

The algorithm that decides how livers are allocated does appear to be saving more lives. However, we have asked senior clinicians and NHSBT to provide further clarity about the algorithm so that there is greater transparency for patients. For equity a single algorithm is applied to all groups on the waiting list and we will also be asking NHSBT to explain how the needs of all patients including those with rare indications or those with multiple liver conditions are considered within the scheme.

Recent research has improved how livers can be preserved and optimised for transplantation, and thus improve how well they work after they have been transplanted. We need to make sure more organs are able to be used by making sure that novel approaches such as normothermic regional perfusion are funded on a national basis.”