It is five years since the Organ Donation Taskforce published 'Organs for Transplants', which set out a series of recommendations for increasing the UK organ donor rate and suggested that, if all the recommendations were implemented, then the deceased donor rates would increase by 50% by 2013.
The Taskforce report introduced a major programme of work to make sure that the right systems and support were in place to enable organ donation to become a more usual part of end-of-life care. We would like to thank the donor families, the NHS, and the professional organisations for rising to the Taskforce's challenge. Their support and commitment has led to dramatic improvements: by April 2013, there has been a 50% increase in the number of deceased donors and a 30.5% increase in transplants.
However, there is still more we can do. Currently there are over 7,000 people on the UK national transplant waiting list and, during the last financial year, over 1,300 people people either died whilst on the waiting list or became too sick to receive a transplant. It is therefore vital that we continue to build on the current success and continue to make more progress.
In implementing the Taskforce report we learned much about what works well and where the obstacles remain. We have also spent the last year talking to our stakeholders about what more should be done to increase the transplant rate. We would like to thank the hundreds of people who provided their views on what steps should be taken.
We have built on their knowledge and advice to develop a new strategy, which aims to enable the UK to match world- class performance in organ donation and transplantation.