Tissue Donation

Tissue donation can help thousands of people each year. Donated tissue such as skin, bones and eyes can save or dramatically improve the lives of many people suffering from illness or injury. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and their families, thousands of people every year receive life-transforming tissue transplants.

We operate the UK's largest tissue bank and are the largest not-for-profit organisation supplying the NHS with human tissue. We collect tissue from around 400 living and deceased donors each year and provide around 8,500 implants per year that help save and improve the lives of 2,600 patients.

Tissue bag being handed to surgeon

The tissues we supply include skin, bone, heart valves, arteries, tendons and amniotic membranes. Living donors can donate tissue such as bone that is no longer needed, for example following a hip replacement. People who have died are also able to donate tissue, along with organs as they wish. Our specially trained nurses work with bereaved families to explain the process of tissue donation, how it helps patients and to consent for donation.

We are very proud of the fact our donors help us meet the NHS need for tissue and tissue products. We will continue to promote the need for, and benefit of, tissue donation wherever we can. At present one in three tissue donors is also on the NHS Organ Donor Register or becomes an organ donor (www.organdonation.nhs.uk ) and we are acutely aware of the need to provide seamless, compassionate, quality care for donor families.

We provide support services to other tissue banks across the UK. Our National Referral Centre gains consent to donate from over 1,800 eye only donors per year (over 50% of all eye donors in the UK) and is also responsible for the care of these donor families. We administer the National Fulfilment System for Heart Valves, which ensures the fair and transparent allocation of donated heart valves in the UK.

We play a vital role in providing skin, tendons, bone and other tissues to UK hospitals. We are the sole supplier of certain critical products to the NHS and have the capability to provide bespoke services for unmet clinical needs that are not readily available commercially.

We work in a competitive market and work closely with our hospital customers to ensure that the services and products we provide meet patient need. We will work with Donation Committees to raise awareness of tissue donation in hospitals, establish a dedicated Tissues Helpline/Customer Care to provide advice throughout the supply chain to customers, hold seminars and training courses and establish flexible pricing policies.

Learn more: www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/tissuedonation

Learn more about our products and services: www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/tissueservices

Downloads and useful links