National action plan for organ donation and transplantation aims to increase the number of organ transplantations
Organ transplantations have become an established part of health care, and the need for transplantations keeps growing. The number of organ transplantations done in Finland still does not match their demand, as there is a continuous shortage of organs suitable for transplantation. The national action plan for organ donation and transplantation 2023–2033 sets out the objectives for organ donation and transplantation and the plans on achieving them.
Finland has a national staggered organ donation organisation. All Finnish university hospitals and central hospitals act as organ donation hospitals. Each organ donation hospital has an organ donation team as well as a physician and coordinator responsible for organ donation. Organ donation activities in different hospitals have been developed by measures such as harmonising guidelines and increased training.
Organ donation activities require continuous development, as patients waiting for organ transplantation continue to die because a matching organ could not be found for them. The number of organ donors varies significantly from year to year and from region to region. “Although the identification of organ donors has improved significantly, the problem remains that a potential organ donor is not always identified or treatments are restricted without considering the possibility of organ donation”, says Anna-Maria Koivusalo, National Organ Donation Coordinator at HUS.
Communication on organ donation and its significance is important. Raising public awareness fosters a positive attitude towards organ donation, increasing the number of organ transplantations.
The main objective of the now-finished national action plan is to ensure that all patients who would benefit from organ transplantation based on their illness and medical assessment receive a transplant in a timely and equal manner. The action plan includes measures for achieving this objective and for developing organ donation and transplantation activities.
Optimal organ transplantation requires multi-professional cooperation and an organ donation and transplantation chain that works well from start to end. The responsibility for planning and coordinating organ donation activities has been assigned to HUS by the so-called centralisation decree (Government Decree on division of labour in specialised medical care and centralisation of certain tasks, 582/2017). Transplant procedures have also been centralised nationally to HUS.
The national action plan for organ donation and transplantation 2023–2033 (LINK) has been prepared by the national organ donation steering group, which includes representatives from all university hospitals, two other organ donation hospitals, the Transplantation Center, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Fimea.