Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Accredited Assessors

The use of video conferencing platforms

We are supporting the use of video conferencing for interviews during this period of time. Equally, if transplant centres feel they can safely facilitate face to face interviews in line with Government guidance, then that is a decision for them to make.

Your should only undertake interviews in an environment you feel comfortable to do so. Please discuss any concerns you might have with the transplant centre.

Body language plays an important role and so whilst you may not be able to conduct face to face interviews, we hope that by seeing the people you are interviewing this will go some way in helping to provide some reassurance.

The decision as to which video platform to use will need to be decided in discussion with the transplant centre. Some factors you may wish to consider are:

Liaising with the bone marrow / PBSC transplant centre

The video conferencing facility that is used must be supported by local hospital protocol and security. Please discuss the practicalities with the transplant centre as they may have a preferred or existing local platform that they will need you to use.  

Logistics

How to access the video platform will need to be agreed with transplant centres i.e. account details and the use of personal equipment where applicable.  

The parents of any children you are interviewing will need to have access to the video platform that is agreed. This has been communicated to Stem Cell Coordinators / Specialist Nurses as they will need to communicate details to those concerned prior to the interview.

Identity and relationship and joint interviews

Please continue to confirm the relationship between the donor, recipient and person consenting on behalf of the donor. We suggest that you ask for the documents to be held up to the camera so they can be seen clearly. Alternatively the Stem Cell Coordinators / Specialist Nurses may decide to securely email a scanned copy of the relevant documents to you prior to the interview.

As usual, it is a requirement to interview the person consenting on behalf of the donor and where possible, the donor and recipient separately and together. We advise when conducting separate interviews with the donor and recipient and person consenting on behalf of the donor, you make it clear there is an expectation that you will need to speak to each person alone (where appropriate). We will need confirmation that you have interviewed all parties, both together and separately, and ask that you document this clearly within your report. Alternatively, where the individual is comfortable to do so they may show you the room to demonstrate that they are alone.

Where the donor and recipient do not live in the same household, we understand this may bring its own set of challenges. We advise using a platform that allows for more than one participant, where possible, to allow for a joint interview. This would allow both participants on the call to see each other and for you to observe body language.

Young or recipients who are too unwell to be interviewed

In instances where the donor or recipient is too young (or pre-verbal) to be interviewed, or the recipient is too ill to be interviewed, please follow the same guidelines in place for face to face interviews. Where you have been unable to interview a recipient please clearly document the reasons for this in your report as usual.

COVID-19 risks

Moving forward

It is important that patients are aware of any additional risks relating to COVID-19.

Please kindly continue to address these risks during your interviews for the foreseeable future, clearly documenting the discussion within your report. In particular we ask that you cover the following areas: 

  • Confirmation that the donor, recipient and person consenting on behalf of the donor have had a conversation with the clinical team surrounding COVID-19; 
  • Their understanding of these risks and measures; and, 
  • Confirmation that the donor or person consenting on behalf of the donor is still happy to proceed.

Transplant centres have been asked to confirm that the donor, recipient and the person consenting on behalf of the donor have had the risks explained to them within referral letters. 

Please note, we do not require you to educate the donor, recipient and the person consenting on behalf of the donor on these risks. You should only be checking their understanding after the clinical team has had a discussion with them. 

We understand there will be ongoing questions about the changes we have outlined above however please be assured that we are here to support you. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact the team on transplants@hta.gov.uk.

Last updated on: 24 Sep 2020