Bias and transparency issues found in NHS liver transplant algorithm

09/11/2023 | Financial Times

An in-depth article in the Financial Times tells the story of a patient who identified serious bias, transparency and oversight issues with an algorithm used by the NHS to make decisions about who should receive liver transplant surgery.

The National Liver Offering Scheme (NLOS) is an algorithm used to match donated livers with patients across England. The Transplant Benefit Score (TBS) produced by the algorithm determines who goes to the top of the waiting list. The algorithm was introduced in 2018 to reduce the number of patients who died waiting for a transplant. However, it has come under scrutiny for being opaque and lacking an appeals process. The Meredith family discovered that their daughter, Sarah, was disadvantaged under the NLOS system. Despite providing evidence to show Sarah's TBS was not rising above a certain threshold, the family was frustrated with the response from doctors and officials at NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) during a meeting. The article reports that hepatologists across the country have also noted problems with the algorithm.

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Surgery, NHS, healthcare

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