Glasgow & West Scotland

Plans for Scotland's first lung transplants being considered by ministers

Nicola Sturgeon
Image caption The first minister said the Scottish government was considering the request from surgeons

A request from surgeons to be allowed to carry out lung transplants in Scotland for the first time is being considered by the Scottish government.

The Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank is currently the only heart transplant unit in the UK which cannot also offer lung replacement surgery.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said ministers were investigating whether the proposal could go ahead.

The Golden Jubilee is celebrating 25 years since its first heart transplant.

A decision on lung transplants is expected be made next year.

Image caption Nicola Sturgeon visited the Golden Jubilee to mark the 25th anniversary of the first heart transplant operation

Ms Sturgeon said: "There's a scoping exercise being undertaken right now that will report in the first half of next year and then decisions will be made on the strength of the evidence that is available.

"What the exercise is looking at is the feasibility of carrying out lung transplants here as well.

"I completely understand the desire of clinicians who feel they have the capability, and also of patients who would prefer their operations here in Scotland rather than having to go to Newcastle which has been the case traditionally, but we've got to make sure we take these decisions based on the best possible evidence."

Prof Nawwar Al-Attar, Director of Scottish National Advanced Heart Failure Service, said surgeons were keen, and ready to be able to take on the extra work.

He appealed for more donors to come forward to enable the transplant programme to expand.

"Glasgow is the only transplant centre in the UK that only offers heart transplantation," he said.

"We are very keen on offering lung transplants to patients with advanced respiratory and lung disease."

"We are very much looking forward to coming up with recommendations to support our request to have lung transplantations."

Image caption Ms Sturgeon met patients on the visit to the Golden Jubilee

Since the programme began in 1991, 367 heart transplants have been carried out with the longest surviving patient receiving his heart 24 years ago.

Chief executive of the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Jill Young, said: "Each year we hold an event dedicated to bringing together patients and families who have been treated by the service, letting them share their experiences and see that they are not alone.

"This year, however, is a very special occasion for the NHS in Scotland: celebrating a landmark for this life-changing, life-saving, service which has given patients all across Scotland a second chance at life."

She added: "Today is a chance to look back, celebrate and remember but it is also an opportunity to look forward at new developments and possibilities for the future to help more patients than ever before not only survive heart failure, but go on to live healthy, active, normal lives for years to come."

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