An update on our stakeholder forums for Anatomy, Human Application and ODT

  • Anatomy
  • Human application
  • Living organ donation approvals
  • Organ donation and transplantation

Last month we held three more sector focused forums. Meeting together in this way has many benefits, as some of the things we talked about can illustrate.

During the anatomy sector forum there was an interesting debate about regulation, with one description being of a friendly critic – the HTA Regulation Manager who is not looking to catch establishments out, but rather working towards making establishments better. Regarding body donation, it was noted that a donation made in a will is rare, but when this is the case it is sometimes picked up too late. This can be distressing for family and friends who feel they have not acted on any last wishes. The importance of conversations with family and friends before death and encouraging anyone wanting to donate their body to plan ahead with a medical school or research establishment can only help reduce these instances. There’s more information about body donation on our website.

At the Human Application forum, I gave an introductory talk about the HTA’s priorities for the year before opening the floor for a wide-ranging discussion about the challenges and opportunities faced by the sector. Topics covered included possible revisions to the EU Tissue and Cells Directives and the impact any changes might have on the regulatory landscape in the UK, supply shortages and device labelling, and the regulation of autologous Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs). Areas where further guidance from the HTA would be helpful and the navigability of the HTA’s website were also discussed, as was the suitability of the HTA’s licensing model in the context of new treatments that are being developed. 

At the forum for organ donation and transplantation, topics for discussion were split into living and deceased donation. Some key issues included complex enquiries around consent, use of images and Assessment & Recovery Centres (ARCs). ARCs could bring significant change to the sector in the next few years, so there will be a lot of work to consider in terms of planning for different scenarios.

During a discussion about organ trafficking, we explained we have increased the scrutiny given to all cases with an overseas donor and cases taking place in the private sector. We want to build on the confidence people have in our regulation by ensuring that human tissue and organs are used safely and ethically, and with proper consent.

Reflecting on all the recent forums, a common thread was the importance of collaboration and engagement with the sectors we regulate. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who joined us to share their insight. The discussions were open and frank  and there was learning for us to take forward. We also appreciated the positive feedback about HTA’s approach.

We look forward to holding further forums later this year. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch with us:

Dr Colin Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer, HTA

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