Is It Bunk, or Vital to Remember?

Thursday, 05 October 2023

Room 402, Suttie Centre


5 October 2023

Professor John Forsythe, Organ Utilisation Consultant for NHSBT, Transplant Honorary Professor, and Consultant Transplant Surgeon, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Taking proper note of the past can, despite what some say, be vital in planning for the future. In the talk, this will be explored in the context of organ transplantation, both in a global and a UK setting. This will then be reviewed in the challenges of delivering transplant services in today’s NHS.

John Forsythe was the Medical Director for Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation in NHS Blood and Transplant, a position that he held through the pandemic, leading a team of senior clinicians and managers to support and sustain Donation, Retrieval and Transplant Services across the whole of the UK. He is now the Co-Chair of the Implementation Steering Group for Organ Utilisation in the Department of Health.

Administrative positions

He has held multiple administrative lead positions including the following

  • Board member NHS Quality Improvement Scotland
  • Chair,  Scottish Transplant Group, later the Scottish Donation and Transplant Group
  • Chair of the Advisory committee for safety of blood tissues and organs (SaBTO) – an advisory committee to all UK health ministers
  • Board member of the  Arm’s Length Body at its inauguration as NHS Blood and Transplant.

Professional leadership positions

  • Past president British Transplantation Society
  • Past President British Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics
  • Past president European Society of Transplantation
  • UK representative to the EU specialist expert group on transplantation
  • UK representative to the Council of Europe specialist donation and transplant committee
  • Council Member for the International Transplantation Society
  • Awarded OBE in the last NY honours of QE II


John Forsythe was an abdominal transplant surgeon for over thirty years and had been clinical director of the programme in Edinburgh before taking up the role of Medical Director for the UK.



A recording of this talk is available, also of the presentations by MedChi's charity recipients.

← back to listings