The number of people donating organs has fallen for the first time in a decade, leading to a call for more donors.
Fewer people dying in circumstances where they could donate and no increase in the rate of people signing up for their organs to be used if they die are behind the five per cent drop.
The Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2014/15 shows there were 4,431 transplants compared with 4,655 in 2013/14. It means 224 fewer received an organ transplant.
Of the transplants carried out, 1,092 were made possible by living donors who gave a kidney or part of their liver, while 3,339 benefitted from organs donated after death.
NHS Blood and Transplant, which published the report, is calling for the public to discuss and consider organ donation.
The report said that the consent/authorisation rate remains “stubbornly” below 60 per cent and that unless there is a revolution in attitudes to organ donation people waiting for a transplant will continue to die needlessly. It also said families are much more likely to agree to donation if they know it is what their loved one wanted.
Last year, nearly nine out of 10 families said yes when their loved one’s decision to donate was known, for example either through the NHS Organ Donor Register or after a previous discussion with them.
But even when a decision to donate was known, 120 families felt unable to honour their loved one’s decision, denying them their dying wish to save others after their death.
NHS Blood and Transplant’s director of organ donation Sally Johnson said: “We are truly grateful to the families of the 1,282 deceased donors and to each of the 1,092 living donors who made transplants possible last year. Their donations allowed over 4,400 people to get the organ transplant they’ve been waiting for.”