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Independent Assessor bulletin: Feb 2016

Living organ donation news HTA news

Living organ donation

Referral letters and Donor Declaration Forms   

As of 1 February 2016, cases will not be assessed until we receive documentation along with the IA report. 

Independent Assessors (IAs): Please remember to send us all paperwork promptly after assessments. The referral is not considered to be made to the HTA until this information has been received. Where possible, the documentation should be uploaded along with the report. In cases where it is not possible to upload documents, we will provide 1st class envelopes for IAs to ensure that we receive paperwork promptly. Please contact the Living Donation Assessment Team if you would like us to send you 1st class envelopes. 

Reclassification of cases 

Where a case is re-classified for the donation category, a fresh IA interview should be carried out and new IA report must be submitted. This occurs where a donor and recipient pair has received approval for directed donation, and subsequently receives a match in the paired / pooled scheme (or vice versa).This is because paired and pooled cases require a panel decision.

Donation category on referral letters 

Living Donor Coordinators: Please take care when documenting the donation category in the first section of the referral letter, particularly in paired/pooled cases, to ensure that that this is accurate. We cannot assess a case until the correct donation category has been confirmed. 

Emergency out of hours' cases 

Living Donor Coordinators: Assessment on the basis of the IA report can only be provided during office hours (9-5 pm, Monday - Friday). Outside of regular business hours, HTA Authority Members assess cases.

In an emergency out of hours’ situation, verbal approval is necessary. For this reason, the Authority Member must be able to contact the IA who carried out the assessment. If your referral or transplant unit carries out emergency out of hour’s transplants, it is crucial that you have telephone contact details for IAs.

For emergency out of hours’ independent assessments, please inform the NHSBT duty office after the IA assessment is complete. Their phone number is 0117 9757575. The HTA Authority Member on call will contact the transplant unit to confirm the following:
  • that it is a clinical emergency,
  • that the IA assessment has been completed (with both donor and recipient as far as possible), and;
  • the IA name and contact details. 
After speaking with the IA, the Authority Member will contact you with a decision.

Please note that the decision will be verbal. You can ask the HTA Authority member to send you an email confirming their decision. 

If you are aware of a possible emergency out of hour’s case, please inform the Living Donation Assessment Team beforehand. This helps us to ensure that the correct procedures are followed.

Independent Assessors: Please note that you will need to provide all necessary statutory information about the case verbally to the HTA Authority Member. Please ensure that you are contactable after carrying out the assessment. You must then submit the IA report to the HTA, retrospectively. 
Please contact the Living Donation Assessment Team for further advice and guidance in these cases.

Nature and risks of procedure 

Independent Assessors: Please ensure that you discuss the following issues during IA assessments with the donor:
  • the possibility of the procedure moving from laparoscopic to open surgery (kidney),
  • long and short term risks and possible complications from the procedure, and;
  • mortality risk – kidney 1:3000, liver 1:200 (donation to adult), 1:500 (donation to child).This is particularly important in cases of living liver donation.

IA re-accreditation  

IA re-accreditation assessments have been completed. Notices and information, including any necessary refresher training requirements have been sent out and should be returned to Living Donation Assessment Team by 9 March 2016. The refresher training results will be communicated to Living Donor Coordinators and Independent Assessors by 28 March 2016. 

Actions from HTA internal audit  

Independent Assessors: As you are aware, it has been recommended that IAs have valid DBS checks in place. We have incorporated this requirement into HTA policy and intend to implement this by 30 May 2016. After careful consideration we will be using an external company to apply for enhanced DBS checks for all IAs. All IAs will be sent a secure link via email and you will be asked to fill in the following information for your DBS checks: 
  • Address history covering 5 years
  • Town of Birth
  • Mothers maiden name (her surname before she married)
  •  Passport or Photocard Drivers Licence (if you can provide both the Drivers Licence can act as proof of address)
We will send separate email to inform IAs when the secure link will be sent out and the HTA will be in touch with you regarding next steps. Once the DBS checks are carried out the Living Donor Coordinators and Independent Assessors will be notified.  Please contact the Living Donation Assessment Team if you have any queries or questions regarding this process. 

IA recruitment   

Please let us know if:
  • you need additional IAs at your transplant unit, and 
  • you know of anyone that would be interested in becoming an IA.

Please send their name and contact details to us. We can reserve a place for them at the next training session, which will take place on 24 March 2016 in London.  

Changes to living donation team structure 

Chitvan Amin has taken up the post of Transplant Manager and can be contacted on the following:

E-mail address:
HTA switchboard: 0207 269 1900

As always, please contact us at if you have any questions.

Stats and facts

Type of case

Month   Directed kidney   Directed altruistic kidney   Non-directed altruistic kidney   Paired or pooled kidney   Directed liver lobe
October   74   2   7   7   6
November   73   0   7   41   5
December   74   1   7   9   4

Type of case

Month   Directed kidney   Directed altruistic kidney   Non-directed altruistic kidney   Paired or pooled kidney   Directed liver lobe
October   74   2   7   7   6
November   73   0   7   41   5
December   74   1   7   9   4

HTA News

Codes of Practice update

Our consultation on the updated Codes of Practice closed on 2 November 2015. We received hundreds of helpful comments at events across the country and as part of the online questionnaire. We have considered all responses and comments and have amended the Codes where appropriate. 

The Codes are now with the Department of Health for a legal review. They will then need to be approved by Parliament. We expect this to happen later this year. To reflect this, we are aiming to bring the Codes into force in 2017.

Later in 2016, we will put in place training to support you and ensure you are up-to-speed by the time they come into force. We will also publish an outline of the changes made following the consultation. 

Please continue to work to the HTA's current Codes. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

New Director of Policy, Strategy and Communications

We are pleased to announce that Vicky Marshment has re-joined the HTA as the Director of Policy, Strategy and Communications. Vicky is responsible for leading on both corporate and regulatory policy and supporting the Authority. She is also responsible for strategic planning and developing our stakeholder relationships to deliver quality outcomes for the public and professionals. Vicky’s full biography is available on our website

Public Information Review Panel

Over the next year, we will be reviewing and updating the guidance for the public section of our website. To make sure our information is understandable we are looking for volunteers to help us review it. We want your thoughts on what we publish:
  • does our guidance make sense? 
  • are there better ways of presenting our information? 
  • have we missed out the obvious and skipped straight to the details? 
If you, or someone you know, would be able to help out, please let us know. You don’t need to have any experience in writing or editing. You just need to be willing to tell us what we can do better. If you are interested in taking part, or would like more information, please contact us

HTA public newsletter 

In January, we published the first edition of the HTA’s public newsletter. This newsletter is aimed at members of the public and those working in public-facing organisations affected by or interested in our work. Please feel free to share our newsletter with any friends or colleagues you think would be interested. Anyone can sign up to receive the newsletter on our website by clicking that you are 'a member of the public'. 

What do you want to see in the next issue? 

All of the sectors we regulate are constantly changing and we want to make sure our e-newsletter continues to be practically useful to those we work with. With that in mind, we would be happy to receive suggestions for future items and articles. Similarly, we always welcome feedback and ideas for improving this e-newsletter. Please let us know your comments and suggestions.
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