The use of video conferencing platforms
We are supporting the use of video conferencing for interviews during this period of time. Equally, if your centre feels they can safely facilitate face to face interviews in line with Government guidance, then that is a decision for you to make.
We have communicated this to IAs but please be aware that some may have concerns at this time about conducting face to face interviews during the present time.
We have sent guidance to IAs to help support video conferencing moving forward.
The video conferencing facility that is used to carry out interviews must be supported by your local hospital protocol and security and needs to allow for the IA to undertake a joint interview. This means it needs to have the functionality to speak and see more than one person at a time. Please discussing the practicalities with the IA if your hospital has a preferred or existing local platform that they will need to use.
How to access the video platform will need to be agreed between you and the IA i.e. account details and the use of personal equipment where applicable.
Donors and recipients will need to have access to the agreed video platform, and these details will need to be communicated to those involved prior to the interview.
Identity and relationship and joint interviews
IAs will still need to complete check on identity and relationships as per our guidance, by asking to see the relevant ID and evidence of relationship where applicable. Please ensure donors and recipients are aware of this ahead of the interviews.
Donor declaration form
Donor declaration forms must be signed. You may decide to post the form to the donor to sign and return back to you. You can then securely email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org or email it securely straight to the IA.
Young recipients or recipients that are too unwell to be interviewed
In instances where the recipient is young / pre-verbal or too ill to be interviewed, IAs have been asked to follow the same guidelines in place for face to face interviews. Joint interviews still need to take place unless there are exceptional circumstances. Please email email@example.com if you need any advice about what may constitute exceptional circumstances.
Moving forward and revisiting consent
It is important that patients are aware of any additional risks relating to COVID-19.
Please kindly continue to address these risks in referral letters for the foreseeable future. The letter will need to confirm that the donor and recipient have had a conversation about risks related to COVID-19 with the clinical team. We will also need conformation that any measures that have been taken to minimise these risks have also been discussed. IAs have been asked to include confirmation that they have discussed the donor and the recipients understanding of this discussion within their report to us.
To revisit consent in the context of COVID-19:
As per our guidance (England, Wales and Northern Ireland / Scotland) there is no time limit on the validity of an approval, however where the period since approval being granted and the transplant going ahead has been more than 12 months, IAs will need to conduct a brief phone call with the donor and the recipient to ensure circumstances have not changed since approval.
It is important the IAs revisit consent in the context of COVID-19 risks as well as the following:
- Any circumstantial changes (exploring any changes further); and,
- Confirmation that there is still no evidence of duress/coercion or reward.
To ensure we remain as proportionate as possible, it is acceptable for the IA to speak to the donor and recipient on the phone and email details of their discussion to firstname.lastname@example.org. We have asked that they include the TXXXX number so that we can identify the relevant case. We will email you to confirm we have received details of the COVID-19 discussion from the IA so that you can proceed with the donation and transplant.
Please also see guidance that we recently published for centres considering the use of alternative premises.