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Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities wait longer for kidney transplants

The latest Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report published by NHS Blood and Transplant reveals that three out of ten patients on the UK’s active kidney transplant waiting list at the end of March 2013 were from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

However, only 23% of patients who received a kidney transplant during 2012/13 were from these communities and, on average, they will wait a year longer for a transplant than a White patient.*

Kidneys are allocated according to many factors, with blood and tissue type amongst the most important and matching is likely to be closer when the ethnicity of the donor and recipient are closer. As only a small percentage (5%) of deceased donors are from BAME communities,this can delay a suitably matched organ being found for BAME patients.

Last year there were 1,212 deceased donors in the UK. Only 56 of them were from BAME communities. Of those:

  • 21 were Asian

  • 20 were Black

  • 15 were from other ethnic backgrounds

Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant’s Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, added: “Patients from Black, Asian and some ethnic minority communities are more likely to need an organ transplant than the rest of the population as they are more susceptible to illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and certain forms of hepatitis, all of which may result in organ failure and the need for a lifesaving transplant.

We have seen an increase in consent among BAME families – one third (33%) approached about donation said yes in 2012/13, compared to a quarter (24%) the previous year. Although this is encouraging progress, the consent rate remains much lower than the 61% consent rate seen among white families. We ask everyone in Britain’s diverse communities to make a decision to donate if and when they can, knowing that they can be proud to help someone in their own community. Remember it’s really important to let your family know your decision and join the NHS Organ Donor Register”

Kirit Modi, Chairman of the National Kidney Federation and co-chair of the NBTA said: “I am today urging individuals from BAME backgrounds as well as appropriate community and religious groups to help improve organ donation and transplantation in our communities. Please discuss this with close members of your family and join the Organ Donor Register. Together we can solve this problem and save lives."

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323 or text DONATE to 62323. It’s also important to talk to those closest to you about your organ donation wishes.

The full Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2012/13 can be viewed via: http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/statistics/transplant_activity_report/


*Median waiting times for an adult kidney transplant (for patients registered on the Transplant waiting list 1 April 2006 – 31 March 2010). 1,419 days for black patients, 1,413 for asian patients and 1,092 for white patients.

In 2012/13, 593 BAME patients on the waiting list received a transplant from a deceased donor, compared to 499 during the previous 12 month period.

At the end of March 2013, 1,889 (30%) of the 6,348 patients waiting for a kidney were BAME.

On 31 March 2013, 2,037 (27%) of the 7,560 people on the Transplant Waiting List for any type of organ, were BAME patients.

For more information about the Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report, please contact the NHS Blood and Transplant Press Office via pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk or 01923 367600.

For out of hours enquiries please call: 0117 969 2444

Notes to editors

  • NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. Its remit includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England and North Wales. It is also the organ donor organisation for the whole of the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs.

  • 19.8 million people in the UK have already signed onto the NHS Organ Donor Register. This records the details of people who have registered their wishes to donate organs and/or tissue after their death for transplantation. This information is used by authorised medical staff to establish whether a person wanted to donate.

  • It’s simple to join the ODR by:

    • going to www.organdonation.nhs.uk

    • ringing 0300 123 23 23

    • texting SAVE to 62323

  • Anyone can register on the ODR. Age isn’t a barrier to being an organ or tissue donor and neither are most medical conditions. People in their 70s and 80s have become donors and saved many lives.

  • One donor can save or transform up to 9 lives and many more can be helped through the donation of tissues.

  • There are currently around 7,300 people in the UK waiting for an organ transplant. This figure changes constantly though as people join and leave the transplant waiting list.