Thursday, July 15, 1999 Published at 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
MPs to tackle kidney disease
Kidney surgery: Donor organs are in short supply
MPs have launched a group to tackle the "crisis" in fighting kidney disease.
The All Party Renal Services Group in the House of Commons has been set up in response to lobbying by the National Kidney Federation.
Campaigners want to highlight the problems of limited resources, long waits for transplant operations, falling numbers of donations and rising demand.
Figures show that in 1997 there was a three per cent increase in the number of people on the kidney transplant waiting lists and a seven per cent drop in the number of transplants carried out.
The issue of kidney organ donation hit the headlines last week when it was disclosed that a man's family insisted his organs went to a white person.
Doctors voted last week at the British Medical Association's annual conference to lobby the Government for an "opt out" system of donation, where people must specifically state that they do not want to donate their organs.
'Falling standards of care'
Austin Donohoe, chairman of the National Kidney Federation, said: "Hospitals are struggling to cope with existing numbers of kidney patients which is expected to rise by 50% in the next five years.
"Patients are facing falling standards of care and exclusion from life-saving treatment.
"We need a full investigation into the crisis affecting kidney patients and action to prevent unnecessary suffering and death.
"We are delighted MPs are going to tackle this problem in parliament."
Tottenham's Labour MP Bernie Grant, who has suffered from kidney disease, is one member of the all-party group.
He said: "I am appalled that treatment falls far short of demand.
"People of Afro-Caribbean and Asian origin are far more likely to suffer from kidney disease and much more needs to be done.
"Urgent action is needed to provide proper treatment for all people who need it, whatever their race."