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'Failure' to boost ethnic minority organ donation rates

An expert warned there has been a "huge failure" to boost organ donation rates among black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups. Credit: PA Wire

There has been a "huge failure" to boost organ donation rates among black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups, an expert has said.

The UK should now consider a scheme where priority for surgery is given to people already on the organ donor register, according to Dr Adnan Sharif, a kidney consultant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Read about ITV's From The Heart appeal here

Figures show that ethnic minorities make up 10.8% of the UK population yet represent 24% of the organ waiting list.

Just 4.2% of organ donors are from minority ethnic backgrounds and there are only around 118,000 people registered from these backgrounds to give an organ after their death, Dr Sharif wrote online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Read: 147,000 join organ donor register after ITV campaign

The singing heart patient looks to the future

Vincenzo Avanzato
Vincenzo Avanzato can enjoy life again thanks to a successful heart transplant operation Credit: ITV News

The number of organ transplants carried out in the UK has reached a record high, figures show.

Vincenzo Avanzato spent 13 weeks on an urgent list awaiting an organ. To help pass the time he sang Italian arias daily, even while being wheeled to the operating theatre for his transplant last Christmas.

Find out more about Vincenzo's story

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'Family refusal' biggest obstacle to organ donation

Family refusal is the biggest obstacle to increasing the number of organs donated on the NHS every year, a health chief said.

Despite a record year for organ transplants, patients are still dying because potential candidates for donation are not registering.

These donations ensured that for the eighth year in succession, the number of people benefiting from an organ transplant increased.

But although we have seen year-on-year increases in activity, the UK can and must do more to save and improve lives through organ donation and transplantation, and family refusal is now our biggest problem.

– Sally Johnson, NHSBT's director of organ donation and transplantation

'Very gratifying' to perform over 4,000 transplants

An organ donation expert has expressed his joy at the record high number of transplant operations carried out in the UK during 2012-13.

It is very gratifying to note that we have performed over 4,000 transplants in 2012/13 for the first time ever in a single year.

This builds on the sustained effort of many people to successfully achieve the target of a 50 percent increase in deceased donors in five years set by the Organ Donation Taskforce.

– Professor Anthony Warrens, president of the British Transplantation Society

'Thousands' remain on organ donor waiting list

Thousands of people remain on the waiting list, with around three a day dying while waiting for an organ, according to NHS Blood and Transplant.

  • At the end of March, there were 7,332 patients waiting for a transplant.
  • A further 3,030 temporarily suspended from transplant lists for reasons including being too ill to undergo an operation.
  • 466 patients died while on the active waiting list for a transplant.
  • Although the vast majority of living organ donors gave a kidney, 33 donated part of their liver, the report said.
  • The number of corneas donated in 2012/13 was 6,390 - a 9 percent rise on last year.
  • More than four out of 10 families approached about organ donation last year refused to donate.

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Record number of transplants in the UK

Organ transplants
A new record has been set for the number of transplants carried out in the UK, an NHS report says. Credit: PA

Organ transplants have reached a record high in the UK, it has emerged.

The number of operations rose by 6 percent since last year, with 4,212 transplants carried out according to a report from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

Approximately a quarter (1,101) of donations were from living people giving a kidney or part of their liver. The rest (3,111) involved organs donated after a person's death.

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