Spain beat its own record of transplant patients in 2015. Its management model has been recommended by the WHO and is currently being implemented in other countries
The National Transplant Organisation (ONT) took part in a seminar organised by the Instituto Cervantes-Spain-Australia Council Foundation Fellowship in Australia, where it explained the success of its management model. Australia has been advised by this organisation and has seen its donor rate improve over the past few years. The figures for 2016 are at 18.1 donors per million; whilst this is still low, there are prospects for future growth.
The last visit organised for the 2016 Leaders Programme took its participants to the organisation's headquarters in Madrid, which coordinates the efforts of all the Spanish healthcare systems in the field of organ donation.
Doctor Beatriz Domínguez-Gil, a specialist in nephrology, showed the Australian Leaders the working of this organisation, which falls under the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. For the past 25 years, its work has positioned Spain as a leader and a model for organ donations and transplants. After its creation, Spain went from 14 donors per million to almost 40 donors per million, the world's highest ratio. In 2015, Spain beat its own record in transplant patients.
The system responsible for this success is based, according to Doctor Domínguez-Gil, on several core factors, the first of which is early detection of potential donors. The most important aspect, however, is providing hospital staff with training on how to communicate with families and support them in critical situations. Just 10% of the seminars organised by the ONT for hospital staff are linked to technical and medical aspects; the rest focuses on learning how to provide information and support to families. The Leaders, who found this interesting, also asked about other aspects such as the impact of religion on the donation rate.
The Leaders were also particular interested in the ONT's complete availability to the media, as well as in the expenditure that organ transplants represent for public healthcare systems. According to Dr Beatriz Domínguez-Gil, “with the savings that kidney transplants entail in dialysis treatments alone, the system saves more than the cost of organ donations and transplants.”
These figures have led the WHO to recommend the “Spanish model” and are the reason it is being implemented in various countries worldwide. The UK, Croatia, Iran and China are already enjoying great results. Dr Domínguez-Gil highlighted Latin America, where the ONT is currently working with several countries that are trying to adapt the programme to their own social and economic landscapes. The results achieved to date in countries such as Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Colombia have also been excellent.
Australian Leaders Programme: Activity summary
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