The coordinating voice for Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Minority Ethnic transplant donation

Gift of Living Donation (GOLD) and Guy’s Hospital, Living Transplant Initiative to increase living
donation in the Black Community funded by NHS Blood and Transplant had to be postponed in
March 2020 due to Covid 19. As part of the initiative GOLD had the opportunity to engage with
black kidney patients on the transplant list and family members who had come forward as potential
living donors. Due to Covid 19, some transplants centres across England are no longer carrying
out living kidney transplants until further notice.

Covid 19 has had a big impact on living donation and GOLD has received many queries and
concerns from Black patients and potential donors. As a result of this GOLD conducted a survey to
find out their current level of interest in living donation and questions they would put to the living
donor and transplant teams as a result of Covid 19.

GOLD carried out the survey in May 2020, it was completed online by 61 people, consisting of
patients, friends and family members. The key findings from the survey are:

  • 90% of the respondents were still interested in living donation
  • 70% of the respondents were family members
  • 80% of the respondents were female

When we analysed the questions respondents would ask the living donor and transplant teams,
they can be summarised in the following headings:

  • Clarification on testing and the new living donor work up pathway as a result of covid19.
  • Reassurance that transplant centres work closely with other departments in the hospital to
    manage the risks of potential living donors and recipients testing positive for Covid 19 pre
    and post transplantation.
  • A risk management plan developed by transplant centres for people from ethnic
    backgrounds due to the fact that they are at a higher risk of testing positive for Covid 19.
  • Transparency from transplant centres to ensure black patients and potential living donors
    do not face health inequalities and discrimination due to their ethnic background.
  • Consultation between patients, potential living donors and key health care professionals
    on covid 19 and its long term implication for people from ethnic backgrounds who want to
  • Overseas donors, will they still be allowed to come?

Covid 19 will have a global impact on LDKT programmes and will change the way transplant
centres will operate for the foreseeable future. There will be a need in the UK to avoid a decline in
the number of people from BAME communities coming forward as potential donors. This decline
may be caused by the fact that people from BAME backgrounds test disproportionally higher for
Covid 19 and also the reluctance from family members and friends to come to hospital for a donor
assessment due to the risk of contracting Covid 19. As a result of these factors transplant centres
and living donor teams may need to look at their current systems to reduce any barriers preventing
people from donating and adapt the way in which they engage with BAME patients and potential
live donors.

Working in partnership with BAME patient groups, organisations and charities who are well-
positioned to engage with these groups could lead to a more successful living donor programme for recipients and donors.