Queen’s and King George hospitals report large rise in organ donations

Queen's Hospital

Queen's Hospital - Credit: Archant

The number of people donating organs after death at Queen’s and King George Hospitals has almost doubled in five years.

Twenty-three people donated at the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHRUT) hospitals in 2012-13, compared with 12 in 2008-09.

Across the country the number has shot up by 50 per cent during the same period.

The increase, locally and nationally, has been largely attributed to a doubling of the number of specialist nurses who approach and support bereaved relatives in hospital since 2008.

“They work very closely with our staff and also with the relatives of potential donors to support them at this really difficult time,” BHRUT medical director Dr Mike Gill said.

“We know that this support can help give families the confidence to donate, and meet the wishes of their loved one after death.”

Julie Fitzpatrick, a specialist nurse at Queen’s and King George hospitals, said: “We are extremely pleased to have been able to have helped save more people’s lives through organ donation.

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“However, there is no time for complacency.

“There are currently around 7,300 people in the UK waiting for an transplant and three people a day who are still dying due to lack of suitable available organs.”

The government increased the number of specialist nurses as a result of recommendations made by the Organ Donation Taskforce in 2008.

A donor has the potential to help nine people through donation of their heart, lungs, both kidneys, pancreas, liver and small bowel and two corneas.

Some experts believe the government should change the current donor card scheme, by introducing an ‘opt-out’ system, under which it would be assumed that patients were happy to donate unless they said otherwise.