Success for St George’s renal transplant team

February 14 2017
Each year, the carry out over 130 kidney transplants, with 480 patients attending our transplant clinic for care after surgery.

The team has been recognised as providing good care, clear pathways and access for patients with kidney disease requiring transplantation.

Our renal transplant services were recently inspected by the West Midlands Quality Review Service (WMQRS). They inspect and scrutinise services across London that cater for people with progressive and advanced chronic kidney disease.

Their report praised the team and said there was evidence of excellent team-working across our surgical, medical and nursing teams. The ward team were noteworthy for their commitment, flexibility and resilience. The renal transplant service was commended for its outcomes, including a high rate of pre-emptive transplant, short cold ischaemia times and short length of post-operative stay.

Separately, NHS England conducted a review of our outcomes for renal transplant patients. Their report, to be published shortly, praised our team and found that we had good transplant outcomes that were supported by timely access to theatres and anaesthetics. They also said the team was cohesive and well led, and that there was a clear transition pathway.

Sarah Heap, Consultant Renal Transplant Surgeon and transplant lead, said: “This is strong evidence of the high quality service we provide for our patients here at St George’s. It is also huge credit to the many staff involved in running the transplant service – which includes surgeons, physicians, nurses, healthcare assistants, transplant co-ordinators, counsellors, as well as managerial staff. The fact patients have been so positive about the service is particularly pleasing, and we value highly our relationship with them, not least the generosity of those people who step forward to donate organs.”

Andrew Tinkler, 52, an IT consultant, is just one of the many patients to benefit from kidney transplant surgery here at St George’s. Andrew underwent transplant surgery at the Trust in April 2016, and received a donor kidney from wife Megan.

“We always knew Andrew would probably need a transplant at some stage” says Megan. Andrew has an inherited genetic disorder which gradually caused his renal function to weaken over time. Both his mother and aunts had suffered from the same condition, and all had undergone a renal transplant in their lives.

Andrew was under the long-term care of the renal team at St George’s but, as his kidney function started to deteriorate, he and Megan attended a patient education event at the Trust for patients and their families considering transplantation.

Megan recalls: “Andrew was getting increasingly tired, and on one occasion needed to be admitted to hospital. It was at this point that the prospect of transplant surgery suddenly became more real, and quite daunting. The event we attended at St George’s put our minds at rest straight-away – the team were so helpful, and so down to earth. You really felt they were on your side, and wanted the very best for you – and this made it much easier for me to volunteer to donate. Such warm, lovely people.”

Megan volunteered to donate one of her kidneys to Andrew and, after undergoing a series of tests, was found to be a match. Both she and Andrew underwent surgery on the same day – with surgeons removing one of Megan’s healthy kidneys then transplanting  it immediately to Andrew.

Megan and Andrew, who are from Weybridge, left hospital shortly afterwards. That was more than 9 months ago and, whilst Andrew must return to see us once every three months for regular checks, both he and Megan are fit and well. Megan says: “I suffered no long-term effects from donating. As for Andrew, it was almost like he had a new battery – he has so much more energy, so it has been life-changing for him.”

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