Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Health
Hospital Waiting Lists
Transplantation remains the only available treatment for heart, lung and liver end stage kidney failure. The gap between the supply and demand of organs available for transplantation is continually growing due to medical advances and reduced traumatic deaths. Covid-19 has significantly curtailed transplant activity during 2020 and 2021. Donations and transplants were impacted by the demands placed on intensive care units, the at-risk status of transplant patients, and the need to redeploy key donation staff to support Covid-19 hospital care in our hospitals.
Continued investment is required to continue to develop organ donation and transplant services and infrastructure and reduce organ transplant waiting lists. An additional €1.25m has been provided for organ donation and transplant services since 2020. Additional funding of €0.5m was provided in 2020, including €0.214m for the purchase of necessary equipment to improve the donation process. A further €0.750m in additional funding was provided in 2021 to further develop organ donation and transplant services.
The objective of this additional investment is improve organ donation rates, facilitate the move to increase deceased cardiac donations and allow for the expansion of the criteria for acceptable donor donations. This investment is particularly important to meet the expected additional demands on transplant services following the introduction of the Human Tissue (Transplantation, Post-Mortem, Anatomical Examination and Public Display) legislation, including the introduction of and opt-out system of organ donation.
The drafting of the Human Tissue (Transplantation, Post-Mortem, Anatomical Examination and Public Display) Bill is a priority for the Government. My Department is progressing work on the drafting of the Bill in collaboration with the Office of Parliamentary Council with a view to ensuring that Government approval is secured to publish the Bill before the end of 2021. It is hoped that the Bill will then be progressed through the Houses of the Oireachtas.