Achieving equality in organ donation and transplantation in the UK: Challenges and solutions

Author(s): Gurch Randhawa;  

Briefing series: Better Health Briefing Paper 23

Publisher: Race Equality Foundation

Publication date: June 2011

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   Achieving equality in organ donation and transplantation in the UK: Challenges and solutions
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The combination of low numbers of black and minority ethnic organ donors and the higher prevalence of conditions such as diabetes and hepatitis mean that these communities are disproportionately represented on transplant lists.  This results in minority ethnic patients waiting on average twice as long for some transplants as their white counterparts.  The paper promotes a 'two-pronged' approach, tackling barriers to black and minority organ donation in the short term (such as lack of awareness or perceived religious opposition) and employing longer term preventative medical interventions which may reduce the need for organs in these communities in the future. 

Key messages

  • Minority ethnic groups are disproportionately affected by inequalities in transplant services in the UK.
  • The UK Organ Donation Taskforce’s explicit recommendations to tackle the needs of the UK’s multi-ethnic and multi-faith population demonstrate the significance of this issue.
  • Policy interventions should take a two-pronged approach: to employ preventive strategies to decrease the number of minority ethnic patients requiring a transplant in the long term; and to increase the number of organ donors from minority ethnic groups in the short term.
  • There are a number of targeted interventions designed to tackle inequalities in transplant services, but increased guidance, training and awareness are still necessary.

Sections

  • Inequalities in transplant services
  • Tackling inequalities in transplant services
  • Prevention and management of long-term conditions
  • The way forward