24/03/2013 11:54 GMT

NHS Livers Donated To Private Foreign Patients Paying For Transplant Operations

Organs donated to the NHS have been sold to private patients from abroad, reports the Sunday Times.

London's King's College Hospital has given nineteen livers to patients over two years to people from Greece, Cyprus, Kuwait, Libya and Dubai.

King's College denied the practice was taking livers away from UK patients saying they were only offered abroad if a match could not be found in this country.

Although the practice is not illegal, a government-commissioned review in 2009 recommended the practice be stopped.

Simon Bramhall, a consultant transplant surgeon at Birmingham University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust told the Sunday Times: "There are not enough donors and too many NHS-entitled recipients to give the organs away."

Professor Derek Manas, a member of the liver advisory panel, said: "'To say 'this liver is not usable for anyone in this country, I am going to give it to someone from another country, that is unacceptable.""

King's College's spokesman said: "At King's we comply with the rules and regulations relating to liver transplant surgery and the allocation of organs.

"This is something we have always done and will continue to do," reports the Daily Mail.

There are currently around 550 on liver transplant waiting lists in the UK.

The trust in charge of King's is believed to have been paid around £1m for the operations.