During the COVID-19 pandemic, transplants saved 3,400 individuals.
Despite a decrease during the pandemic’s peak, organ donation has already returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Last year, 3,391 people received a life-saving transplant, which is around 20% lower than average.
According to the yearly report of NHS Blood and Transplant, donations from the deceased have decreased by 25%.
Around 7,000 patients in the UK are still waiting for a transplant, which is the largest number since 2012/13.
“This last year has been utterly unparalleled in the history of the NHS,” said Professor John Forsythe, medical director of organ and tissue donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
“It’s incredible that we were able to maintain three-quarters of our regular donation and transplantation activity.”
In 2020/21, 1,180 persons died and donated their organs. In 2019/20, there were 1,580 deceased donors and 4,761 persons who received a transplant, compared to 1,580 deceased donors and 4,761 people who had a transplant in the previous year.
Organs from a single donor can be used by multiple people.
At the end of March 2021, the number of patients on the waiting list had dropped to 4,256.
However, NHSBT stated that this was not correct because many people were removed off the waiting list when various transplant programs ceased during the pandemic’s peak.
The backlog of fresh referrals and interim suspensions is still being cleared by the centers.
Last year, 487 individuals died while waiting for a procedure, up from 372 the year before.
Prof. Forsythe stated that it was impossible to avoid the reality that contributions and transplants would require time to heal. “With a remarkable team effort, dead organ donation and transplant activity for the most urgent patients continued during the first wave of COVID-19 and quickly rebounded to pre-Covid levels, with July and August last year being record summer months for donation and transplantation,” he added.
“The teams were able to maintain the majority of these critical procedures running during later surges.”
Because of a change in organ donation law in England in May 2020 and Scotland in March 2021, it is now believed that persons desire to give their organs after death unless they opt out or belong to an excluded group.
According to the data, the number of persons who signed up for the Organ Donation Register increased to 26.7 million in 2020/21. Only two million people choose not to participate.
“Each of us in the wider clinical team of donation and transplant are extremely proud of the work to keep organ donation and transplants alive,” Prof Forsythe added.