Magazine article European Social Policy

Public Health : New Directive Aims to Boost Organ Donation

Magazine article European Social Policy

Public Health : New Directive Aims to Boost Organ Donation

Article excerpt

A proposal for a directive aiming to improve the quality and safety measures for organ donation and the exchange of organs between the EU member states was launched by the European Commission, on 8 December. The document comes coupled with a ten-point action plan to strengthen the EU's organ donation and transplantation systems through exchange of best practices. With the latter, the Commission expects to increase the rate of organ donation in the EU, which varies considerably between the member states.

The exchange of organs is a common practice between member states, but for now there is no legislation in the Union regulating the quality and safety aspects of these exchanges. The proposed directive seeks to provide a legal framework for organ donation and transplantation in the EU and aims to minimise the risks involved with organ transplants. It also aims to improve the allocation of organs and to provide transplant surgeons with all the information they need to make an informed choice.

Under the proposed directive,aa national competent authority will be created in all member states to ensure compliance with the EU standards of quality and safety. These standards include a traceability system for tracing back organs from donor to recipient and a reporting system of serious adverse incidents and reactions. The collection of data on specific organ characteristics will be standardised to facilitate the exchange of human organs. Lastly, national quality programmes will be set up to ensure monitoring of performance. This, the Commission says, should result in improved processes and learning.

The use of organ transplantation has grown during the past decades because of quick progression in transplantation medicines. But most countries now suffer from a severe shortage of organs. Around 56,000 patients are on waiting lists across the EU. …

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