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Organ donors increase by a million

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The number of people prepared to donate organs increased by a million last year, according to the NHS’s Organ Donation Taskforce Implementation Programme.

The total of 16.5 million is an increase of 7% since June last year. After-death donations rose from 809 in 2007-08 to 899 in 2008-09, and live donations from 858 to 961.

The latter provided 104 extra transplants, meaning that 3,516 people received an organ in 2008-09. To further boost efforts, 170 co-ordinators have been appointed.

The taskforce is seeking to increase donation by more than 50% by 2013, which it hopes will lead to 1,400 extra transplants a year.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: “We have already invested £16.5 million to implement the taskforce’s recommendations with a further £26.5 million being invested in 2009-10.”

About 8,000 people are currently waiting for a transplant.

Lynda Hamlyn, chief executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, added: “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.

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