Five years of progress

The Organ Donation Taskforce was charged with identifying how the UK should improve its organ donation performance, which was lagging behind many other Western nations. The Taskforce reported in January 2008 and made 14 recommendations.8 It suggested that full implementation of the recommendations might lead to a 50% increase in the number of deceased organ donors. Since then, all the recommendations have been implemented and deceased donor numbers have risen in line with expectations. This is a great tribute to all the donors, their families and the doctors and nurses who made this possible. There are people alive today following a transplant who would otherwise have died.

Organ donation in the NHS has been transformed: there are more Specialist Nurses in Organ Donation to support families, every hospital has access to a dedicated Clinical Lead and is supported by a Donation Committee and there are dedicated organ retrieval teams serving the entire UK, 24 hours a day. Clinicians now have access to ethical and legal advice to help them facilitate donation, the National Institute for Clinical Evidence has published best practice guidelines and training and development programmes have improved knowledge and skills. Regional Collaboratives bring together leaders in organ donation, to promote the need for donors and provide support for service improvement. Clinicians increasingly view organ donation as a normal part of end-of-life care.

8 Organs for transplants: a report from the Organ Donation Taskforce, Department of Health, January 2008

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