Deceased organ donor numbers reach record high

The number of people who donated organs after they died has reached a record high, officials have said.

A total of 1,575 people donated organs after they died in 2017/18, the highest figure on record, according to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

Every year around 5,000 die in circumstances where organ donation is possible.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

"I am so grateful to all those families who have chosen to help others at a time of personal tragedy.

"This news will give hope to the desperately ill people who are waiting for that lifesaving phone call," said NHSBT's director of organ donation and transplantation Sally Johnson.

"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.

"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.

"Please, tell your family you want to donate, and join the NHS Organ Donor Register."

Prime Minister Theresa May announced in October that the Government will shift towards an opt-out organ donation system in England, which presumes people give consent for their organs and tissues to be donated in the event of their death unless they state otherwise.

An opt-out system has been operating in Wales since December 2015, and in June last year the Scottish Government announced plans to move to a soft opt-out system.

Around 500 people died last year while on the waiting list, or being taken off the list after becoming too unwell for transplant.

Commenting on the latest figures, Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "As a country, we must build on the significant progress of the last 12 months.

"Nursing staff overwhelming support moving to an opt-out system for organ donation.

"When hundreds are still dying for want of a donor, this move could give more of them a fighting chance."

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