New figures out this month reveal Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust had the highest number of organ donors of any Trust last year, helping save or improve the lives of people desperately in need of a transplant across the UK.
NHS Blood and Transplant and NUH – which runs the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital - have released the figures to mark the publication of the annual Transplant Activity Report.
The report reveals a steady increase in support for organ donation around the country, with 69% of families giving their support when asked about organ donation.
The report also reveals that NUH was the highest performing NHS Trust in the country last year for organ donations with 46 deceased organ donors resulting in 157 lifesaving organs for transplant. This is despite organ donation rates across the UK falling due to the pandemic, where Covid-19 had a wide-reaching impact across the whole NHS and every aspect of UK society.
Despite this, 1,180 people in the UK donated their organs after they died, saving or improving the lives of 3,391 transplant recipients and giving hope to the thousands of patients still waiting.
Here in Nottingham, teams at the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital have worked with families to ensure that people’s wishes to donate their organs after they die are honoured.
Ian Johnson, Consultant in Adult Critical Care and Clinical Lead on the Organ Donation Committee (ODC) at NUH said: “We are hugely proud of the work of our teams here at NUH. We know the pandemic has affected organ donation across the country, but for our teams to have continued to work with families to honour their loved one’s wishes around organ donation is very encouraging to everyone currently waiting to receive a transplant.
“We’re grateful and pleased that 232 people in the East Midlands received a lifesaving transplant last year. Sadly that means there are still 414 people locally waiting for a transplant”.
Steve Gill, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia and fellow ODC member at NUH added: “We were humbled to discover that NUH facilitated the highest number of organ donations from deceased patients last year.
“This is a testament to the care and dedication of our teams across Adult and Paediatric Intensive Care, Theatres and our Emergency Department who managed to support the NHS Blood and Transplant service throughout the pandemic, to facilitate 46 organ donors”.
Sadie Harris, Specialist Nurse – Organ Donation at NUH adds: “None of our work would be possible without the selfless generosity demonstrated by our donors and their families, who have agreed to support organ donation following the sad loss of their loved one. We are always hugely grateful and humbled at their ability to see beyond their own grief, and give the gift of life to another family.
“If you would like to be an organ donor after your death, please tell your family that you want to support donation. Letting your family know that you want to save lives will make it much easier if there comes a time when organ donation is a possibility.”
The law around organ donation in England changed to an opt out system in May last year, and it is hoped public support for organ donation will continue to build.
Organ donation remains a most precious gift. Adults covered by the new law change still have a choice about whether or not they want to donate, and families are still involved before organ donation goes ahead.
John Forsythe, Medical Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation, at NHS Blood and Transplant, says: “This year has been unprecedented. So, the fact that we managed to maintain three quarters of our normal donation and transplantation activity across the UK is phenomenal.
“There’s no escaping the fact that organ donation and transplantation will take some time to recover completely, as will the rest of the NHS. We are immensely proud of the work to keep organ donation and transplants happening in the most challenging circumstances, and indebted to donors and their families – who give the gift of life in the midst of a tragedy made even more difficult by Covid restrictions.”
Find out more and register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family.