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Large differences in organ donation rates around Sweden

Published tisdag 20 januari 2015 kl 20.37
File photo: TT.
File photo: TT

Stockholm is the best health authority in the country when it comes to organ transplants, Swedish Radio news reports, while authorities in the south are less successful.

The fewest transplants are done in the south-east, including Jönköping, Kalmar and Östergötland län. On average 8 transplants were carried out per 10,000 deaths in 2013. In Stockholm that figure was 16, rising to 26 in 2014.

According to Håkan Hedman, head of the Swedish Kidney Association, the differences can be explained by a lack of resources and interest.

"To sum it all up, I'd say that it is a lack of intensive-care beds that leads to the lack of organs. But I also think a lot depends on how interested the people working in health-care are", he says.

Kristina Hambraeus, who is responsible for organ-donor policy in the Stockholm region says the capital has improved its figures by trying to change attitudes towards transplants in the health-care system. This has included more training for the staff on the wards, but also underlining to hospital managers that, by law, they are supposed to be encouraging organ donation.

"Many doctors and nurses think that it is uncomfortable to ask the question when speaking to relatives when someone has died", she tells Swedish Radio, "but research has shown that this generally something that only the medical staff feels. The relatives don't think it is strange to get the question. The biggest thing for them is dealing with the loss of someone close."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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