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A study on the uptake and impact of the EU action plan on organ donation and transplantation (2009-2015) in the EU member states. FACTOR study.

Bouwman, R., Wiegers, T., Schoten, S. van, Coppen, R., Friele, R. A study on the uptake and impact of the EU action plan on organ donation and transplantation (2009-2015) in the EU member states. FACTOR study. Luxembourg: European Union, 2017.
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The number of organ transplants in the EU increased by 17% between 2008 and 2015. A report written by research institute NIVEL shows that this increase occurred in the course of the Action Plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation that ran from 2009 to 2015.

Between 2008 and 2015, the number of organ donors increased from 12,000 to almost 15,000 (an increase of 21%). This increase in the number of donors led to 4600 additional transplants from 28,100 in 2008 to 32,700 in 2015 (an increase of 17%). The number of kidney transplants has increased by 60%, liver transplants by 24% and heart transplants by 11%.

Spain, France, the UK, Poland and the Netherlands were the five countries with the largest increase in the total number of transplants. Bulgaria, Lithuania, Finland, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Latvia and Denmark saw the strongest increase in the number of transplants. However, not all countries made progress. For example, the number of transplants decreased in Greece and Cyprus, but also in Germany, where the number of transplants dropped by 20%.

Improvement of the transplant system
The action plan has ensured that local transplant coordinators for deceased donation have been appointed and that registers for monitoring the health of living donors have been set up. Different agreements have also been made between countries, allowing organs to be exchanged with other countries. The EU action plan mainly facilitates that countries work together, with the European Commission acting as a facilitator and financing projects. The researchers recommend to continue this cooperation and especially to assist those countries where the development organ donation and transplantation system could use some help.

Why an EU action plan?
Organ transplantation is crucial for the treatment of certain diseases. Nevertheless, there is a shortage of organ donors throughout Europe. Therefore, the European Union developed an action plan in 2009, the Action Plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation (2009-2015): Strengthened Cooperation between Member States. This plan describes a number of action points that can help Member States to reduce the shortage of organ donors. In addition, the action points focus on the quality and safety of the procedures surrounding organ donation and transplantation.

Evaluation NIVEL
3 Years after the start of the action plan, NIVEL evaluated the course of events with the ACTOR study. At this moment, 3 years later, NIVEL has finished the final evaluation of the action plan with the FACTOR study. It examined the state of play in the field of donor numbers and transplants in the EU, what efforts have been made to support the action plan and to what extent this plan has been implemented both at EU level and in individual EU Member States.