Hull organ donor campaigns for better financial support

Dialysis patient Leanne Kennedy
Image caption Until she gets a transplant, Leanne Kennedy has to use a kidney dialysis machine every night

The NHS could do more to financially support live organ donors, according to a kidney donor in East Yorkshire.

Stuart Kilgannon, from Hull, offered to donate a kidney to his friend's fiancee Leanne Kennedy.

However, as a self-employed taxi driver he felt he could not afford to take take four to six weeks off to recover.

He now works for a company that has given him the time off but he and Ms Kennedy intend to start a fund to help others in the same situation.

Currently NHS guidelines say expenses can only be compensated after the procedure, but Ms Kennedy and Mr Kilgannon believe this puts live donors off.

"[Donating an organ] is a brilliant gift that someone could give and the first consideration shouldn't be a financial one," Ms Kennedy said.

'Gap in support'

NHS Hull said living donors were eligible for reimbursement of expense costs of up to £5,000, but it "recognises the need for flexibility in some cases".

In a statement, the trust said: "Primary care trusts in our region positively support reimbursement in order to prevent financial constraints acting as barrier to those wishing to become living donors."

Ms Kennedy has to use a kidney dialysis machine every night and said "the only way" she can have any quality of life is through a transplant, but none of her family were a match.

Mr Kilgannon took a test and was found to be a match, but felt the financial implications of not earning for the four to six-week recovery time were "huge".

"With mortgage to pay, bills to pay, it's a fantastic amount of money to lose," he said.

With live organ donors now accounting for around 40% of all donations in the UK, the pair believe more should be done to help people with the financial burden.

"There just seems to be a gap in some of the support out there," said Ms Kennedy.

"We're going to set up a fund for people who want to donate an organ, which will help them in the meantime until the NHS can reimburse them."

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