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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Organ wait number at record high
Human kidney
More people are receiving transplants - but more are waiting
The number of people waiting for organ transplant has reached a record high, statistics reveal.

UK Transplant say 7,234 patients were waiting at the end of March, up 8% on the previous year.

The increase occurred despite a record number of patients receiving a life-saving organ transplant last year.

The organisation welcomed that rise, but said more organ donors were desperately needed to help those who were still on the waiting list.

More organ donors are desperately needed
Chris Rudge, UK Transplant

UK Transplant figures showed 3,074 patients received a transplant in 2006-07 - up 10% on the previous year.

A further 1.1 million people also joined the NHS Organ Donor Register, taking the total by the end of 2006/07 to more than 14.2 million.

Since 2001/02 there has been a 16% increase in overall transplant numbers.

When the figures are broken down, they reveal a 26% increase in kidney transplants, a 280% increase in "non-heartbeating" donors - from people who die in hospital and whose heart cannot be used - and a 77% increase in living donors.

But the same period also saw a 30% rise in the number of people needing transplants and a 10% fall in the number of dead "heartbeating" donors - somebody who has died on a ventilator and is brain dead.

The decline in the number of "heartbeating" donors is due to improvements in road safety, medical advances in the treatment of patients and the prevention of strokes in younger people.

'Big success'

Chris Rudge, UK Transplant managing and transplant director, said: "The growth in transplant numbers is very welcome and a credit to the kindness of the organ donors, and their families, who make these life-saving operations possible.

"We have invested in several hospital-based programmes in recent years to increase opportunities for donation, and these figures demonstrate that our strategy is helping more patients benefit from a transplant."

He added: "This record number of transplants is a tribute to the dedication and immense efforts of staff in transplant units, while medical and nursing teams across the whole NHS also play a vital role throughout the overall transplantation process.

"But the figures also show that more organ donors are desperately needed. The number of patients awaiting a transplant is greater than ever before and it is vital that if people wish to help others live after their death, they make their intentions known by talking to their families and joining the NHS Organ Donor Register."

Health minister Rosie Winterton said: "Organ transplantation is one of the big success stories of modern medicine and I am delighted to see this increase in the number of operations performed.

"However many more could have benefited if all those who wanted to donate had made their wishes known."




SEE ALSO
Transplants come under scrutiny
17 Jan 07 |  Health
'I'm waiting for a transplant'
31 Aug 06 |  Health

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