NHS achieves ground breaking 50% increase in deceased organ donors
More than 3,100 lives were transformed by deceased donors in the last 12
months as the NHS hit the 50% increase in deceased organ donation, the challenge
set by the Organ Donation Taskforce in 2008.
"This is an outstanding achievement that few thought possible at the time
this ambition was set. It is the result of the hard work and dedication of staff
in hospitals and communities across the country," Bill Fullagar, NHS Blood and
Transplant Chairman, said today announcing the increase.
"We must also share our heartfelt thanks with every family who, at a great
time of sadness, supported their loves one's wish to donate their organs and
transform the lives of up to nine other people."
The number of deceased organ donors across the UK in 2012/13 hit 1212,
representing a 50% increase since 2007/08 when the four UK governments accepted
the recommendations of the 2008 Organ Donation Taskforce. There had been almost
no increase in the number of deceased donors over the previous decade.
Dr Paul Murphy, an intensive care consultant in Leeds and NHS Blood and
Transplant's national lead for organ donation, said: "Delivering the 50%
increase is a landmark event in donation and transplantation for the UK. It is
testament to the changes we have made at every level in hospitals to deliver
this, to the commitment of critical care and emergency department staff to
donation, and most of all to the generosity of donors and their families. But we
can and must do more, because patients continue to die needlessly waiting for an
"Now we have the foundation to push on and create a donation and
transplantation service that we can be proud of. Too many families continue to
say no, sometimes even overturning their loved one's commitment to donate after
death. For instance, in 2011/12 alone 125 families overruled the individual's
intention, recorded on the NHS Organ Donor Register, to become an organ donor.
This is often because they were unaware that this was what they wanted and found
it difficult to come to terms with at such an awful time of loss."
The increase in donated organs has led to a 30.5% boost in the number of
people receiving a life saving or enhancing organ transplant in the last five
years. Professor Anthony Warrens, Professor of Renal Transplantation Medicine at
Barts and The London and President of the British Transplantation Society said:
"The professional transplant community is delighted that the target set by the
2008 Organ Donor Taskforce has been met. We salute the enormous effort of large
numbers of people and the determined leadership given by NHS Blood and
Transplant which has made this happen. There can be few greater achievements
than to have given life to those who were on the verge of death but that is
the reality of this achievement. Data show that an individual who donates his or
her organs after death gives the recipients an aggregate of an additional 56
years of life. And despite the sadness of the moment, this usually becomes a
major comfort to bereaved families as time passes."
Since the Organ Donation Taskforce published its fourteen recommendations
five years ago, new measures have been introduced by NHS Blood and Transplant to
ensure that the 50% increase could be achieved. These included:
- Employing a network of 250 specialist nurses in organ donation who
support families at a difficult time to consider organ donation
- Funding the appointment of a named clinical lead and a Donation
Committee in each hospital or Trust across the UK to promote donation and
ensure every potential donor is identified
- Creating specialist organ retrieval teams to facilitate donation
whenever and wherever it may happen every day of the year
- Promoting donation and the need for society and individuals to commit to
become organ donors through hard-hitting public awareness campaigns.
Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant's Director of Organ Donation and
"Although I am delighted that we have made such big advances in the UK, we
can and must do more. We need a transformation in donor and family consent to
organ donation because the UK's family refusal rate remains one of the highest
in Europe. Without that, there is only a limited amount more the NHS can do to
offer further hope to those on the waiting list for an organ transplant."
NHSBT has consulted widely on a new strategy to be launched in the summer
which will build on the recommendations of the original Organ Donor Taskforce
and set new challenges to help the three people a day who are still dying due to
lack of suitable available organs.
- For additional information please contact Andrea Ttofa, Head of Media
and PR at NHS Blood and Transplant by calling 01923 367 600 or 07889 304
- In office hours, you can contact the press office on 01923 367 600
- For out of hours enquiries please call: 0117 969 2444
Notes to editors
|Deceased organ donors, UK, 2012/13 compared with 2007/08
by nation of donor hospital
|| % increase
Please note that % increase for Wales for 2011/12 over the 2007/8 baseline
was 49% (they had 67 deceased donors in that year).
2,385 deceased donor transplants were carried out in the UK in 2007/8.
3,112 were carried out in 2012/13. These figures represent a 30.5% increase in
deceased donor transplants.
- NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a joint
England and Wales Special Health Authority. Its remit includes the provision of
a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in
England and North Wales. It is also the organ donor organisation for the whole
of the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs.
- The Organ Donation Task Force set out fourteen recommendations in its 2008
report. These were:
- A UK-wide Organ Donation Organisation should be
- The establishment of the Organ Donation Organisation should be
the responsibility of NHS Blood and Transplant
- Urgent attention is required
to resolve outstanding legal, ethical and professional issues in order to ensure
that all clinicians are supported and are able to work within a clear and
unambiguous framework of good practice. Additionally, an independent UK-wide
Donation Ethics Group should be established
- All parts of the NHS must
embrace organ donation as a usual, not an unusual event. Local policies
constructed around national guidelines should be put in place. Discussions about
donation should be part of all end-of-life care when appropriate. Each Trust
should have an identified clinical donation champion and a Trust donation
committee to help achieve this.
- Minimum notification criteria for potential
organ donation should be introduced on a UK-wide basis. These criteria should be
reviewed after 12 months in the light of evidence of their effect, and the
comparative impact of more detailed criteria should be assessed.
activity in all Trusts should be monitored. Rates of potential organ
identification, referral, approach to the family and consent to donation should
be reported. The Trust donation committee should report to the Trust Board
through the clinical governance process and the medical director and the reports
should be part of the assessment of Trusts through the relevant healthcare
regulator. Benchmark data from the Trusts should be made available for
- Brain stem death testing should be carried out in all patients
where Brain stem death is a likely diagnosis, even if organ donation is an
- Financial disincentives to Trusts facilitating donation
should be removed through the development and introduction of appropriate
- The current network of Donor Transplant Coordinators (now
known as Specialist Nurses - Organ Donation) should be expanded and strengthened
through central employment by a UK-wide Organ Donation Organisation. Additional
co-ordinators embedded within critical care areas, should be employed to ensure
a comprehensive, highly skilled, specialised and robust service. There should be
a close and defined collaboration between DTCs, clinical staff and Trust
donation champions. Electonic on-line donor registration and organ offering
systems should be developed.
- A UK-wide network of dedicated organ retrieval
teams should be established to ensure timely, high-quality organ removal from
all heartbeating and non-heartbeating donors. The Organ Donation Organisation
should be responsible for commissioning the retrieval teams and for audit and
- All clinical staff likely to involved in the
treatment of potential organ donors should receive mandatory training in the
principles of donation. There should be regular update training.
- Appropriate ways should be identified of personally and publicly recognising
individual organ donors, where desired. These approaches may include national
memorials, local initiatives and personal follow-up to donor families.
- There is an urgent requirement to identify and implement the most effective
methods through which organ donation and the 'gift of life' can be promoted to
the general public, and specifically to the BME population. Research should be
carried out through Department of Health research and development funding.
- The Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice should develop formal
guidelines for coroners concerning organ donation.
You can download the
- More than 19.5 million people in the UK have already signed onto the NHS
Organ Donor Register. This records the details of people who have registered
their wishes to donate organs and/or tissue after their death for
transplantation. This information is used by authorised medical staff to
establish whether a person wanted to donate.
- Its simple to join the ODR
- Anyone can register on the ODR. Age isn't a barrier
to being an organ or tissue donor and neither are most medical conditions.
People in their 70s and 80s have become donors and saved many lives.
donor can save or transform up to 9 lives and many more can be helped through
the donation of tissues.
- There are currently around 7,300 people in the UK
waiting for an organ transplant. This figure changes constantly though as people
join and leave the transplant waiting list.