February 8, 2009

Britain’s transplant policy under fire

A top British health official says fewer people will register for organ donation if they think foreigners are being treated ahead of Britons.

In the last two years, more than 40 residents of European Union countries have received organs from British donors in surgeries performed at King's College Hospital in London, The Sunday Times of London reported.

The practice undermines Prime Minister Gordon Brown's effort to increase organ donations, said Linda Hamlyn, chief executive of National Health Service Blood and Transplant.

In a letter to the hospital, Hamlyn said the practice also creates an obvious conflict of interest because doctors financially profit from organs donated to the national health system.

In the last month, 22 people have withdrawn their names from the national donor register in protest of the transplant practice, The Times reported.

King's College Hospital officials have said patients from within the European Union are legally entitled to receive donated organs in Britain.