2017 sees record number of organ donors

CREDIT: This story was first seen on the BBC

A record number of people donated organs in the UK last year, with the highest increase in 28 years.

The BBC reports that there were 1,575 donors, an 11% increase on the previous year.

The record figures are being attributed to a proactive approach and the introduction of specialist nurses across the NHS, who are there to support donor families and ensure the donation is properly co-ordinated.

This has helped ensure fewer missed opportunities because families block donations, or the necessary equipment is not available.

Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant director of organ donation and transplantation, said the improvement had been magnificent.

She said the figures “would make any country in the world proud,” but added that a “deadly shortage of organ donors remains”.

“Around three people who could benefit from a donated organ still die each day.”

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

The figures come at a time when the NHS is debating whether England should follow Wales and introduce an opt-out donation scheme.

The NHS has yet to publish the results of a public consultation which ran for 12 weeks until March 6, and the feedback is being analysed.

Wales introduced an opt-out system in December 2015. However, a study published two years into the scheme, showed that it had not increased the number of donors in the country.

Scotland is bringing forward legislation to provide an opt-out system and the issue is also being debated in Northern Ireland. However, recently a leading transplant surgeon said the province was “not ready” for such a system to be introduced.

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