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Liver Transplant Policy

Last year, NHSBT introduced a new scheme called the National Liver Offering Scheme to select the right person on the liver transplant waiting list for each donor liver. Livers are offered based on a TBS (a Transplant Benefit Score) based on characteristics of both the donor organ and the potential recipient. Sometimes, a liver is offered to people on the waiting list and, for various reasons, is declined by the transplant centres. Reasons for declining an organ for liver transplantation include discovering the liver is too fatty, or another transplant being underway at the transplant centre.

But what happens to the liver if it is not matched to a patient on the waiting list using the TBS?

Such livers are never wasted; they enter a 'fast track' system whereby the liver is offered to multiple centres at once to find the most suitable person.

Martine Walmsley is the patient representative on an NHSBT working group to review the fast tracking process, and triggers for fast tracking organs. The group met in London on 23 July 2019.

Martine says, "Equitable access to donor livers is important. At the same time, it is important that donor livers are utilised in the best possible way to maximise lives saved and improved. This working group is reviewing current fast-tracking processes to ensure that patients are identified for the next transplant in a way that is both fair and pragmatic, based on the results we have seen in the first year of the NLOS, and the resources available at transplant centres."