It has been reported that the NHS Transplant Service could be forced to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is under mounting pressure due to the lack of intensive care which could see vital transplants suspended or cancelled in the wake of the pandemic and with over 5,000 people in the UK currently waiting for a transplant the effects of a potential shut down are life-changing.
Professor John Forsyth, Medical Director for Transplant and Organ Donation at NHSBT, says that:
“we may get to that point in the next days or weeks’ in terms of transplants not being available in certain regions at all.”
NHSBT figures have shown a significant drop in the number of transplants being carried out with only nine going ahead since the start of April, compared with 80 this time last year.
The lack of intensive care beds is just one of many factors that are affecting the service with the low immune systems of those needing the transplants also considered.
The UK is not the only country struggling with Professor Forsyth also told the BBC that other countries:
“who have been at the centre of this Covid pandemic, have got to the point where no transplant is possible in certain regions at all.”
The pandemic has caused a backlog of delays across all areas of the NHS with waiting times stretching further than ever before and pressure mounting. However, the news that transplant services may be shut down is worrying for all those waiting for transplants and their families. If the NHS are unable to provide this life-saving service then it could force those who do not have the means to fund private treatment into a corner.