Why is Spain so good at organ donations?


Considering patients for organ donation earlier on is part of Spain’s successful transplant policy (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Spain’s organ transplant system is considered the gold standard across the world. But how have they done it?

Writing in the American Journal of Transplantation, the country’s leading experts have revealed there is no great secret – it has simply invested a lot of time and effort on the issue.

In 1989 they set up the Organizacion Nacional de Trasplantes (ONT), an agency whose sole priority is transplantation. And it worked. In less than a decade they’d doubled the rate of organ donation to 30 deceased donors per million people. It’s now up to 40, the best in Europe.

Designated health professionals are helped by regional co-ordination offices and the ONT to make organ donations happen, and find donors not just in intensive care units, but also in accident and emergency departments and hospital wards.

They also consider organ donations from older people (10% of donors are over 80) – another policy that helped the country reach 100 transplant procedures per million people in 2015.

The Spanish model, as it’s been dubbed, is so successful that other nations are trying to recreate it. Continue reading