New figures out today reveal there were nine deceased organ donors at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Cheltenham General Hospital last year, helping save or improve the lives of 25 people desperately in need of a transplant.
NHS Blood and Transplant and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHSFT has 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 per cent of families giving their consent when asked about organ donation. In Gloucestershire the consent rate was an amazing 79 per cent.
The annual report shows deceased organ donation fell last year 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. Remarkably more patients received life-saving or changing transplants due to the generosity of Gloucestershire patients and their families than the year before.
Dr Mark Haslam, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation in Gloucestershire, said: “Covid impacted on transplantation but we never stopped and we got better after the first wave. The foundations of organ donation are strong, we were tested, but we bounced back. There are currently 80 patients in Gloucestershire waiting for a transplant. Nationally one person dies a day on the transplant waiting list. 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, added: “This past year has been completely unprecedented in the history of the NHS, as well as in our wider society. So, the fact that we managed to maintain three quarters of our normal donation and transplantation activity across the UK is absolutely 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. But each one of us in the wider clinical team of donation and transplantation, across the UK, are immensely proud of the work to keep organ donation and transplants happening in the most challenging circumstances. But our commitment is nothing compared with donors and their families – the gift of life has been donated in the midst of a tragedy made even more difficult by Covid restrictions.”
Out of a total population in Gloucestershire of just over 637 000, there are 466 470 people on the Organ Donation Register (ODR)-one of the highest figures in the UK. Currently, there are 80 people waiting for a transplant in the county.
Ian Mean, chair of the Gloucestershire Organ Donation Committee, said: “We are very proud that so many people in Gloucestershire have signed up to the Organ Donation Register to pledge to give the greatest gift of life”.
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.