Less than two years after publication of a report calling for radical changes to the UK's donation and transplant service, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has recruited an additional 65 specialist nurses - Donor Transplant Co-ordinators - who guide families through the process of deceased donation.

When the Organ Donation Taskforce published its report Organs for Transplants in January 2008, the number of Donor Transplant Co-ordinators (DTCs) in the UK totalled 120.

Since the Taskforce recommendation that all DTCs should be employed by one national organisation - NHS Blood and Transplant - the numbers have increased through a dedicated recruitment campaign (couldyouask) and two thirds of existing DTC teams have transferred employment to NHSBT.

Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We have made great strides in delivering the changes which the Organ Donation Taskforce called for, but there is much still left to do.

"The changes we are making, working closely with the Department of Health and devolved health administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, aim to improve dramatically organ donation and transplantation services across the UK, giving more people the opportunity to have their wishes about donation fulfilled.

"The Donor Transplant Co-ordinators play a central role in the donation process and they are increasingly located in critical care units so that they are better placed to respond quickly when a potential donor is identified and the families want to discuss donation.

"Last year, we saw a record number of organ transplants in the UK, but it is still the case that, on average, three people die everyday in this country because there are simply not enough organs available.

"We need to convert public support for organ donation into action and will shortly be launching a major public campaign to remind people of the everyday need for organs to save lives."

Six months into the current financial year (2009/10), deceased organ donation across the UK is up 3% compared to same period last year, while the number of organ transplants is also up by 5.5%.

Membership of the NHS Organ Donor Register is currently 16.5 million, which means that the majority of people in the UK have still not yet signed up.

Other progress as at October 2009 includes:

- the appointment of 148 clinical experts whose role is to work with intensive care units to encourage organ donation to be viewed as everyday practice

- the formation of 48 local donation committees in hospitals, and

- the introduction of an electronic system for offering donated organs which is now in use by all donor transplant teams and most transplant centres.


NHS Blood and Transplant should be credited as the source of statistics/data in this news release which are current as at today's date or, as stated, relate to 1st April to 30th September 2009.

- NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority in the NHS. It is the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs. Its remit also includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS

- There are presently 170 Donor Transplant Co-ordinators (DTCs) employed across the UK of which 144 are directly employed by NHSBT.

- 14 of the previous 18 DTC teams have been transferred to NHSBT management and reorganised into nine new regional teams. A further three new regional teams will be formed from the transfer of the remaining four teams.

NHS Blood and Transplant

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