BBC criticised for Holby City transplant plot

DRAMA A scene from the BBC drama Holby City that has sparked the controversy
DRAMA A scene from the BBC drama Holby City that has sparked the controversy
Winners and highly-commended staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital's Best People Awards 2017     Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

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A FATHER who donated his kidney to his nine-year-old son has criticised the BBC after a storyline in Holby City saw people withdraw from the organ donation register.

Ed Goncalves, of Broadsands Drive, Gosport, donated his kidney to Luis after he was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure in March last year. Luis has been campaigning to encourage people to join the organ donation register.

The storyline of the hospital drama, broadcast on the most recent episodes, focused around two characters – one who was in need of an organ, and another who was dying and whose family was asked about donating organs.

The two families were shown coming into contact with each other.

And despite agreeing for an organ donation to take place, a relative of the donor then changed their mind – but was told it was too late.

NHS Blood and Transplant said people have asked to be taken off the list since the episode was broadcast.

Ed, 45, said: ‘If you look at why Luis started his campaign he’s doing it to help people less fortunate than himself.

‘He spent a long time anxiously on the waiting list.

‘The reason they are on that list for so long is because there aren’t enough organs.

‘Already people die every day because there aren’t enough organs.

‘What we need is for more people to join the register and for more organs to be available, not for people to be discouraged and actually taken off the list.’

Ed has asked the BBC if he can be involved in a programme to raise awareness about organ donation.

He has also invited the director general, Tony Hall, to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

‘Hopefully these two things will help to undo some of the damage that the BBC has done on this unnecessary dramatic and totally inaccurate portrayal on transplant issues,’ Ed added.

The BBC said: ‘Holby City’s portrayal of a heart transplant and the storyline’s conclusion was never meant to be an accurate reflection of how such a scenario would typically be handled within the NHS.

‘Instead we sought to dramatise the consequences that could arise should the correct protocols be wilfully ignored.

‘We are fully aware that this is an extremely sensitive and emotive topic and as such the consequences of going against the correct procedures were reiterated throughout the episodes.

‘We have a long-standing and established relationship with medical experts on the show who advise on all our storylines.’