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Health board says Glasgow kidney donation data ‘flawed’

A report which suggested Glasgow had the lowest rate of kidney donation in the UK has been branded "misleading" by Scotland's largest health board.

The study by Cambridge University and NHS Blood and Transplant found Glasgow had a donation rate of 3.2%.

This was based on donations from 27,482 UK patients who died in critical care between April 2010 and December 2011.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the figures did not reflect the significant increase in donor rates since then.

The study has been published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.

It found that of the 27,482 patients who died in critical care, 1,528, or 5.5%, became kidney donors.

The report said that in Glasgow and Manchester there were "significantly lower" donation rates, with 3.2% and 4.5% respectively.

Cardiff and Cambridge had significantly higher donation rates – of 7.5% and 7%.

The publication of this out-of-date report is deeply unhelpful and disruptive to those who have worked tirelessly to drive donation rates up to unprecedented levels in Scotland”

Report author Dominic Summers, from the Department of Surgery at the University of Cambridge, said: "We did not expect to find such marked differences in organ donation rates between different regions in the UK after already taking into account the various factors known to influence the number of organ donors.

"Our findings indicate that despite huge progress in organ donation rates over the last five years, there is considerable scope to increase these rates further and improve more lives through kidney transplantation."

The report's findings, however, have been heavily criticised by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

In a strongly-worded statement, the health board said it was "deeply disappointing that this out-of-date report" was being "portrayed as reflective of the current status of kidney donation within Glasgow".

"At a most basic level the report is misleading in that it refers to data drawn from intensive care units from across the whole of the West of Scotland as being Glasgow specific," the health board said.

"However of greater concern is the fact that the data, drawn from a single period of time more than two years ago, fails to reflect the significant increase in donor rates that has been achieved across the west of Scotland – from intensive care units from Dumfries to Fort William – over the past two years.

"Furthermore the figures quoted in the report are in no way whatsoever a reflection of the West of Scotland Renal Transplant Unit based in Glasgow which has increased transplant numbers by over 60% since 2010, way above most other UK transplant units."

The health board added: "Given the vast increase in donation rates achieved in Scotland in the past two years the publication of this out-of-date report is deeply unhelpful and disruptive to those who have worked tirelessly to drive donation rates up to unprecedented levels in Scotland."