NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has launched its first paediatric and neonatal organ donation strategy aimed at increasing paediatric and neonatal deceased donation rates, especially for young patients who often need organs matched to their size.
The strategy identifies eight areas of focus to increase organ donation among under 18s, with a series of recommendations for each area. The recommendations include increased support for families throughout the donation process, more dedicated training and support for clinical staff caring for paediatric patients, and the development of new screening and assessment processes.
The Nuffield Council welcomes this strategy, particularly the recognition of the need for skilled support for families during such a difficult time. In 2011, we published a report, Human bodies: donation for medicine and research, the culmination of a two-year inquiry, in which we examined the ethical and social issues arising from organ donation. In the report, we recognised the vital role that specialist staff play in providing important information to bereaved families, and enabling others to benefit from the gift of organ donation. We welcome the commitment to provide specialist nurses and all clinical staff likely to be involved in the treatment of potential child donors with access to training and education tailored to address the unique considerations, challenges and opportunities in paediatric donation.