Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Living Donor Coordinators COVID-19 guidance

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. Now that we have a clearer idea on the situation and the length of time these measures may need to be in place, we do not feel that telephone interviews alone are sufficient.

We understand that there may be some anxieties about using video conferencing, but we are hopeful there are ways of overcoming these. We have sent guidance to IAs to support with this.

The video conferencing facility that is used 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.

Logistics

Logistics such as how to access the video platform will need to be agreed between you and the IA. You will need to agree account details and the use of personal equipment where applicable.  

Donors and recipients will need to have access to the video platform that is agreed. Please ensure this is arranged with the donor and recipient prior to the interview.

Identity and relationship and joint interviews

IAs will still need to complete checks on identity and relationships in the usual way by asking to see the relevant ID and evidence of relationship, where applicable. Please ensure donors and recipients are aware of this in advance of the interviews.

Donor declaration form

Donor declaration forms must be signed. You may decide to post the form to the donor for them to post back to you to enable you to email it to transplants@hta.gov.uk or email it securely straight to the IA.

Young or poorly recipients that cannot 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 transplants@hta.gov.uk if you need any advice about what may constitute exceptional circumstances.

COVID-19 risks

It is important that patients are aware of any additional risks relating to COVID-19, therefore please ensure this is addressed in referral letters for the foreseeable future. IAs have been asked to confirm that they have discussed this with donor and recipient in their report to us.

For those donors and recipients that had received HTA approval prior to COVID-19, but where the transplant has not yet taken place, we are asking you to re-visit consent with patients in the context of COVID-19. The reason for this is because circumstances have fundamentally changed since their consent was provided and all precautions possible are being put in place to protect living donors.

This means you will need to ask IAs to hold a further conversation with donors and recipients they may have interviewed some time ago. In these cases, we need to have confirmation that both donor and recipient has had a further conversation with a member of the clinical team and the donor’s consent remains in place.

To ensure we remain as proportionate as possible we are taking a reasonably light-touch approach. It’s therefore acceptable for the IA to speak to the patients on the phone and email details of their discussion to transplants@hta.gov.uk. We have asked that they include the TXXXX number so that we can identify the relevant case. We will then confirm to you once we have that email so that you can plan timeframes to proceed to donation and transplant.

Please also see guidance that we recently published for centres considering the use of alternative premises.

You will also be aware that a system for deemed consent for organ and tissue after death became operational in England on 20 May. As a result, we have separated out our Code of Practice F into two parts. There have been no changes to the information on living organ donation other than it is now called Code of Practice F: Donation of solid organs and tissue for transplantation - Part one: Living organ donation. Part two refers entirely to the new legislative requirements for deceased donation.

Audience: 
Last updated on: 22 May 2020