Belgium: Belgian hearts are with the Dutch
17 January 2011
"Seeking a heart in Belgium," headlines De Standaard, leading with a report on the large numbers of patients who avoid long waiting lists in the Netherlands by traveling across the border. Belgium, which operates a presumed consent system, has 26 donors per million population — more than twice the rate in the Netherlands where potential donors have to sign up on a national register, explains the daily. Both countries are members of the Eurotransplant network which manages the allocation of organs in a number of European countries and attempts to maintain a balance between donations and allocations in national health services. This balance is now under threat, points out an expert quoted by De Standaard, because "Dutch patients are registered as ‘Belgian transplants’". The daily reports that Austria is also experiencing a similar problem with large numbers of patients arriving from Germany.