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Transplant boost "not enough"

Thursday September 1st, 2016

The UK has achieved a record level of organ transplants from deceased donors - but it is still "not enough", campaigners say today.

Figures published today show a 6% increase in the number of donors who were deceased in the financial year ending in March, reaching 1,364.

This was offset by a 2% reduction in the number of living donors - falling to 1,075.

NHS Blood and Transplant said the proportion of families agreeing to donation in suitable cases had increased to 62%. Among families of black and Asian origin the proportion fell to 34%. In total these deceased donors contributed to 3,519 transplants.

The numbers could be boosted in the coming year after the introduction of presumed consent in Wales.

According to the report from NHS Blood and Transplant, some 466 people died during the year waiting for an organ - and another 881 were removed from the transplant waiting list, usually because they were too ill to benefit.

The analysis shows that specialist transplant nurses play a key role in families giving consent to donation. Some 68% say yes when approached by these nurses - compared with 30% of those asked by other staff.

Sally Johnson, from the organisation, said: “It’s good to see progress in the deceased donor transplant programme across the UK last year, with more donors and deceased donor transplants than ever before. But there is a lot more work to do if we are going to realise our ambition for the UK to match world class performance in organ donation and transplantation.

“The referral rates of potential donors to NHS Blood and Transplant continued to improve but consent rates are still too low at 62%. Hospitals are an important part of the local community and can play a key role in helping to change the attitudes of their local residents as well as their own employees towards organ donation through promotional activity."

She added: “Transplant success rates continue to improve.

"However, we know that as our donor pool contracts transplant surgeons face a bigger challenge in deciding whether or not to accept an organ for a patient as today’s donors are often older, fatter and have a more complex medical history.

"We are working with surgeons to develop a strategy to support them in making decisions around which organs to transplant and which type of patients they are suitable for. There is a peer review process in place and organ acceptance rates and transplant success rates are published."

Tags: Internal Medicine | NHS | Transplant | UK News

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