NICE Clinical Guideline on Organ Donation:

In September 2010, the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) began work on producing a clinical guideline relating to organ donation, which when published will provide evidence based recommendations to the NHS on the management of organ donation.  The Department of Health (DH) has asked NICE to produce a clinical guideline in improving donor identification and consent rates for cadaveric organ donation.  Currently Europe has an average of 17.8 donors per million people, however the UK has one of the lowest rates at 15.5 donors per million people.  The guideline will aim to address current inequalities by helping to make organ donation a usual part of NHS practice, meaning that families of all potential organ donors are approached and supported, irrespective of factors such as ethnicity and religion.

NICE was set up on the 1st April 1999 and makes recommendations to the NHS on new & existing medicines, treatments and procedures.  This NICE guideline aims to address four key clinical questions which relate to:

The guideline will be developed using the rigorous processes adopted by NICE and will independently inform the NHS on the appropriate best evidence recommendations for enhancing organ donation for transplantation.  A guideline development group committee has been established which consists of numerous technical and analyst experts from NICE. This also includes adult and paediatric Intensivists, Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation, Patient and carers representatives, Diversity and equality experts and myself as the nurse representative.  The guideline development committee have had their first meeting in September, with further meetings scheduled.  At these meetings, the literature is reviewed which also includes relevant audit from credible organisations such as NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) in order for the group to produce recommendations which aim to address the guideline clinical questions, as set above. 

Following the recommendations being drafted, the guideline will be circulated for consultation, to allow all key stakeholders the opportunity to make comments on the subsequent recommendations.  This consultation period will be from 26th January to 23rd February 2011.  With the final publication of the guideline being scheduled for the 24th August 2011.  It is envisaged that this NICE guideline, when published, will further build upon the DH (2008) organ donation task force recommendations in formulating a further strategy for enabling the UK to address the burden of disease by increasing the availability of organs for transplant. 

As being the nurse representative on this NICE committee.  I am keen to represent the voice and opinions of our profession in order to ensure that nurses’ continue to play a significant role in supporting and delivering initiatives that can further enhance the organ donation process within the United Kingdom.

For further information go to and search organ donation.

Tim Collins,
Nurse Representative for NICE Organ Donation Guideline Development Committee
BACCN Southern Region, Treasurer.

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