There is at least 61 people already on the live kidney and pancreas transplant waiting list at the Dublin hospital — the only one that carries out such operations in the country.
Their operations are not going to be affected by the list closure, according to the Irish Kidney Association, but people that have just secured donors and are waiting to join the list will be seriously concerned.
Patients already on the live transplant list are waiting up to 18 months before they are operated on and it is this waiting time that prompted hospital management to halt any new additions.
This wait can be “torturous”, says Mark Murphy, IKA chief executive, as there is a living donor, often a friend or relative, and the patient in various stages of pre-operation assessment.
Up to €14.5m was given to Beaumont by the HSE last year to develop its National Renal Transplant Programme, which looks after living and deceased kidney transplants.
At the time, the HSE said that this investment would ensure the number of living and deceased transplants would rise from about 160 transplants a year to 250.
Mr Murphy said: “We don’t know when the list was closed. It could have been this side of Christmas, but we know, even though there has been a big investment in the new operating theatre, the hospital is still overwhelmed by numbers seeking living transplants.
“There is a serious question about decision making at the hospital and I believe somewhere at the top, they won’t accept they have a national responsibility to kidney and pancreas donors.”
Up to 31 live kidney transplants took place at Beaumont last year.
A spokesman for the hospital said it would like a maximum waiting period of three to six months between operation preparation and procedure.
“However, this time is now in excess of one year,” said the spokesman. “Preparation of patients for the live-donor programme involves clinical assessment and a range of diagnostic procedures of both recipients and potential donors.
“Preparing patients and their donors too far in advance or without a foreseeable planned procedure date would render some of the clinical assessments and diagnostics invalid requiring repetition,” he said.