A RENAL transplant nurse from Bradford has become the district's first ever living donor coordinator. 

Michael Speight, who has been a senior renal transplant nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for the past ten years, will aim to raise awareness of living kidney donation across Bradford and Airedale.

He will also lead promotional activity on behalf of the trust - throughout the district - which will include speaking to families and community groups about the benefits of living kidney donation.

"I’ve always been interested in renal transplantation, but now I have the opportunity to focus my efforts on promoting living donation and supporting potential living kidney donors who come forward for assessment", Michael said.

"A living donor kidney is likely to provide better outcomes for the recipient than a deceased donor kidney. The living donor is more likely to share the same tissue type as the recipient and a living donor transplant is performed as a carefully planned procedure.

"Living donation also increases the overall donor pool in the UK, which means that other patients have a shorter wait for a deceased donor kidney transplant."

Michael is aware, however, that living donation can sometimes be a sensitive topic.

"We have to strike a balance", he said.

"People can get anxious and need to make the decision themselves. I will be providing any information and support they need to guide them through the entire living donor pathway.

"Living donors are usually family members or close friends, but we do also support altruistic donors who come forward.

"Once they confirm that they wish to proceed, we do some tests to see if they are compatible and do all we can to minimise any risks.

"If potential living donors are not compatible with the intended recipient, there is also the option of taking part in the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme, which pools donor and recipient pairs to help find better matches.”

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust currently supports around four to five living donors in Bradford each year, but Michael and colleagues in the renal team are hoping to more than double that figure.

Potential living donors are independently assessed before donation can proceed. The pathway takes around six months from start to finish, with the actual operation performed via keyhole surgery at the regional transplant centre in Leeds.

Most donors are discharged home within two to three days of the procedure. The trust provides care and support for living donors for the rest of their lives.

Renal Clinical Lead, Dr John Stoves, said: “I am proud to say that this is a first for Bradford, and in winning trust approval for the post there has been excellent support from regional and national colleagues, including representatives from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA).

"Patients with advanced kidney disease are likely to wait much longer for a deceased donor transplant than a living donor transplant, especially our South Asian patients, because of their ‘matchability’ to potential deceased donors in the UK, so we are very keen to ensure that we are able to strengthen our living donor pathways in Bradford.”

Lisa Burnapp, Clinical Lead for Living Donation at NHSBT, said she was delighted that a Living Donor Co-ordinator had been appointed in Bradford.

She added: “Dr Stoves and the Bradford team are champions of living donor kidney transplantation and have been valued members of the UK Living Kidney Donation Network, since its inception in October 2016.

“We know from UK-wide experience that these posts are critical in raising the local profile of living donor kidney transplantation and increasing opportunities for patients and their families who wish to access this ‘gold standard’ treatment for end-stage kidney disease.

“During the COVID era, it has become even more evident that multi-disciplinary support for living donation in every renal centre is critical to establishing and expanding activity.

"It is particularly encouraging to hear this news in these difficult times and I wish the whole team every success.”

Dr Stoves added:  “Michael’s appointment is a major step forward for living donor transplantation in Bradford and Airedale.

"As always, the success of the Living Donor Coordinator post will depend on strong team engagement and our continuing involvement with the UK Living Kidney Donation Network.

"Thank you to everyone for supporting Michael in his new role!”