Organ donation figures rise in 2019

More people than ever are agreeing to donate their organs, according to new figures released by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

The increase in the number of donors was made possible partly due to fewer families refusing to support their relative’s decision to donate. More families also agreed to support donation, and more people were referred to organ donation teams by medical professionals.

The figures are especially encouraging because there was a four per cent drop in people whose organs were eligible for donation.

Anthony Clarkson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “No lifesaving transplant would be possible without the generosity of every donor and their families, who give their support and say ‘yes’ to organ donation.

“It is testament to the courage of these donors and their families, as well as the dedication of all the clinical staff involved, that we have been able to save and transform as many lives as we have this year.”

From Spring 2020, all adults in England and Scotland will have to opt-out of having their organs donated when they die. This is in line with the law in Wales, which has meant that 77 per cent of Welsh people now consent to organ donation.

Despite the rise in donations, the overall number of transplants was slightly down, with 87 fewer organ transplants taking place than the previous year. NHSBT claims the reasons for this are ‘still being fully explored by the organ donation and transplantation community’.

A spokesperson for the British Transplantation Society, said: “Transplantation is complex, and we continue to look at every opportunity to maximise the use of donated organs to benefit our patients. Careful consideration is always given to finding a suitable organ to give every recipient the best chance of a successful transplant.”

To find out more about organ donation or sign the register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.

Last medically reviewed: July, 2019 • July, 2022