Record number of organ transplants
The number of organ transplants carried out in the UK has reached a record high, figures show.
There were 4,212 transplants in 2012/13, up 6% on the 3,960 in 2011/12, according to a report from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
Around a quarter (1,101) of the transplants were as a result of living donors giving a kidney or part of their liver. The rest (3,111) involved organs donated after a person's death.
Thousands of people remain on the waiting list, with around three a day dying while waiting for an organ, according to NHSBT.
At the end of March, there were 7,332 patients waiting for a transplant, with a further 3,030 temporarily suspended from transplant lists for reasons including being too ill to undergo an operation. Some 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% rise on last year.
According to NHSBT, more needs to be done to increase the number of families willing to donate the organs of their loved ones. It said more than four out of 10 families approached about organ donation last year refused to donate.
NHSBT's director of organ donation and transplantation, Sally Johnson, said: "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.
"If the NHS is to save even more lives, more people need to sign up to be a donor, more people need to discuss donation with those close to them and more families need to support donation on behalf of a loved one. Only then will we match the world leaders in the field of organ donation and transplantation."
Professor Anthony Warrens, president of the British Transplantation Society, said: "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% increase in deceased donors in five years set by the Organ Donation Taskforce."