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Number of organ donors reaches record high

For the first year ever more than 1500 people donated organs after death

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

More than 1,500 people in the UK donated their organs after they died last year – the highest number ever recorded – figures from NHS Blood and Transplant show.

In the financial year 2017/18 there were 1,575 deceased donors during - an 11% increase on the previous financial year. There were 162 more deceased donors than the previous year, the highest year on year increase in 28 years.

Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, said: “The increase in donations and transplants is made possible thanks to the generosity of donors and their families. It also reflects the hard work of all the NHS staff who make this incredible service possible. This year we asked clinicians to miss no opportunity to make a transplant happen and despite the pressures on the NHS they’ve responded magnificently.”

Fewer than 5,000 people per year die in circumstances where organ donation is possible.

“Our clinical leaders and specialist nurses have worked hard to reduce the number of missed referral opportunities by 28% this year. Now, 99% of potential donors through brain death are referred to us, and 89% of potential donors through circulatory death are referred to us,” she said.

“We need to stress that the deadly shortage of organ donors remains. Around three people who could benefit from a donated organ still die a day.”

She urged the public to tell their family that they are willing to donate and to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Around 24 million people are on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Wales moved to a deemed consent ‘opt-out’ system in 2015, and both England and Scotland are planning similar legislation following consultations. Northern Ireland has confirmed that it will not be changing to an ‘opt-out’ system.

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