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Families continue to save lives through deceased organ donation


New figures reveal that there were 31 deceased organ donors at the John Radcliffe Hospital last year, helping to save or improve the lives of many people desperately in need of a transplant across the UK.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Blood and Transplant have released this information to mark the publication of the annual Transplant Activity Report.

This year’s data, up from 25 deceased organ donors in the year 2018/19, puts the John Radcliffe Hospital in the top-10 hospitals in the UK in terms of supporting transplant organ donation.

The Transplant Activity Report also showed that the Trust carried out 274 transplants in 2019/20, including:

  • 160 kidney transplants from deceased donors
  • 52 kidney transplants from living donors
  • 53 pancreas transplants
  • 4 transplants of pancreatic islets (cell transplants)
  • 5 transplants of the intestine

Peter Friend, Director of the Oxford Transplant Centre based at the Churchill Hospital, said: "Transplantation continues to make big strides in Oxford, both in terms of the number of patients that we are able to treat and the successful outcome of those transplants.

"We are always aware that none of this would be possible without the generosity and support of donors and the families of donors.

"We are fortunate in Oxford in having world-class clinical facilities and world-class science, which enable innovation and the very latest and best treatments for our patients."

The annual Transplant Activity Report reveals a steady increase in support for organ donation around the country, with 67 percent of families giving their consent when asked about organ donation.

Nationally, deceased organ donor figures were on course to surpass the previous year’s total. However, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit in March and had a wide-reaching impact across the whole of the NHS and every aspect of UK society.

Despite this, 1,580 people in the UK donated their organs after they died, saving or improving the lives of 3,760 transplant recipients and giving hope to the thousands of patients still waiting. If one person donates their organs, they can transform up to nine lives through transplants.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We’re incredibly grateful to our dedicated colleagues at Oxford University Hospitals and all the courageous donors and their families they worked with us to support and who helped us to save so many lives last year.

"Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people. We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to let their relative’s final act to be saving lives through organ donation.

"No lifesaving transplant would be possible without the generosity of every donor and their family, who give their support and say 'yes' to organ donation."

England moved to an opt-out system, bringing in Max and Keira’s Law, on 20 May 2020 and it is hoped public support for organ donation will continue to improve.

Adults covered by the new law change still have a choice whether they want to be an organ donor and their families are still involved before organ donation goes ahead.

Anthony Clarkson added: "With the new law around organ donation in England, we urge everyone to find out about the choices available to them, make their decision and share it with their family."