The Australian Paired Kidney Exchange (AKX) program

The Australian Paired Kidney Exchange (AKX) program is an established nationwide program that aims to facilitate living donor kidney transplants that cannot occur directly due to incompatibility at blood group or HLA antibody. Consequently it increases access to transplantation and reduces patient’s time on dialysis and in some situations patients can avoid dialysis.  

The program commenced nationwide in August 2010 and has been managed by the Clinical Program Director – Professor Paolo Ferrari and administered by the Program Coordinator – Claudia Woodroffe. Originally based at Fremantle Hospital within the South Metropolitan Area Health Service (SMAHS) in Western Australia, the AKX program relocated to the Prince of Wales Hospital, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) in New South Wales in February 2015. Dr Stella McGinn joined the Program in 2016 in the role of Deputy Director.

The AKX program is one of the Organ and Tissue Authority’s (OTA) most successful programs, since 2010 the AKX program has facilitated 26 match runs with 209 kidney transplants successfully completed. In 2016 AKX contributed to almost 1 in 5 of all living kidney donor transplants in Australia. Transplant outcomes from the program have been excellent.

The OTA provides funding for the AKX program through an Agreement with the hosting facility. The funding provides for the positions of the National Clinical Director, the Deputy Director, the Program Coordinator, the Coordinating Tissue Typing Officer and operational costs including transport. 

It is with sadness that we advise the positions of both the National Clinical Director and Program Coordinator will become vacant over the next few months. Professor Ferrari is relocating to work in his native Switzerland and Claudia Woodroffe is retiring from her role and commencing a very well deserved vacation.

As a consequence the OTA and the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand will be calling for expressions of interest (EOI) for a suitably qualified professional from the transplantation community to fill the position of the National Clinical Director to manage the AKX Program. The EOI will be released shortly and the applicant will need to be endorsed by an associated hosting Transplant Unit/ Hospital or Local Area Health District. The Hosting Unit will need to be able to accommodate all hosting arrangements associated with program and support the AKX co-coordinator role.

The AKX Program has become an integral part of kidney transplantation in Australia. A separate EOI process will be run for the Program Coordinator.

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work that both Paolo and Claudia have done over the last 6 years and the excellent outcomes that have been achieved. We also wish to thank the SMAHS and Fremantle Hospital and to SESLHD and the Prince of Wales Hospital, for their collaboration in hosting the Program over the last 7 years.

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