King’s College Hospital in London, UK, has carried out a liver transplant on a fee-paying patient even after a regulation was passed banning the transplant of NHS donor organs into non-NHS patients.

New regulations banning organ transplants for non-NHS patients were formed in October 2009 by an independent panel of experts led by Elisabeth Buggins, a former head of the UK’s Organ Donation Taskforce.

Undertaking transplant operations in the private sector with NHS-donated organs can have a corrosive effect on professional confidence in the organ donation system, the 2009 report said.

“It is unfair for people who have paid taxes and waited patiently for a liver transplant that there are still people who can join the queue because of their ability to pay,” said Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association.

“I assume it’s because there is a financial incentive for the NHS trust or the surgeon,” she added.