Belfast-Birmingham Renal Transplant Surgeon Partnership

30/10/2014

This celebration event was hosted by the Trust to acknowledge the unique and hugely successful partnership between the Trust and colleagues in University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust who have contributed hugely to the development and consolidation of the renal transplant service here in Belfast.

Thanks go specifically to Mr Andrew Ready and Mr Steve Mellor, Consultant Transplant Surgeons, and also Dame Julie Moore, Chief Executive, and Lynne Willets, Divisional Manager, who have both been very supportive to the clinical team in Birmingham. This partnership has been critical to achieving very tangible improvements for patients from across Northern Ireland in the last 5 years, but has also helped to secure the sustainability of the service for many years to come.

In 2008/09, 9 live donor kidney transplants were delivered in the Belfast HSC Trust, with waiting times in excess of 12 months. It was recognised that the ability of the Trust to increase the number of transplants and improve waiting times could not be achieved without additional investment to develop the service in Belfast, in parallel with securing support from another NHS Trust to both carry out transplants and provide mentoring and training.

Since then, with the assistance of University Hospital Birmingham (UHB), the live donor kidney transplantation programme in Belfast has been transformed – the Trust now consistently carries out more than fifty live donor transplants each year, and the time from a donor coming forward, to surgery taking place, has been reduced from well over a year to less than three months. None of this would have happened without the drive, enthusiasm, persistence and expert clinical skills of many individuals within both Trusts.

The contribution of the UHB team has not only delivered in excess of one hundred surgical procedures but has developed the skill set of one of our own Consultant Surgeons through a mentorship scheme and made a major contribution to the training of two individuals who have now been appointed as Consultant Transplant Surgeons within Belfast. This collaboration has ensured the long term viability of the Northern Ireland Kidney Transplantation programme and the provision of a world class service for NI patients with renal disease. It is also important to acknowledge the significant contribution of individuals within Belfast who have invested in the improvement of the entire service and given tirelessly to ensure the success that it is today.

This event does not mark the end of the partnership. While it is the end of a service training and service delivery phase, the Trust is looking forward to building on the strong professional linkages that have been developed by way of future collaboration in the areas of audit, research, training and professional peer support.

Pictured (LtoR): Consultant Transplant Surgeons Mr Tim Brown, BHSCT; Mr Andrew Ready, University Hospital Birmingham; Mr Omar Mohie, BHSCT; Mr John Connolly, BHSCT; Mr Steve Mellor, University Hospital Birmingham and Mr James McDaid, BHSCT