Guy's surgeons perform most kidney transplants in the UK

Friday 24 July 2020

A hand holding an NHS organ donor card

More people received a life-saving kidney transplant at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust last year than anywhere else in the UK, new figures show.

Overall, 241 adults had a kidney transplant at Guy’s Hospital between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, making it the busiest kidney transplant centre in the UK. This was an increase from 225 patients in 2018/19.

Last year surgeons at Guy’s performed 71 adult living donor kidney transplants, the highest number out of all transplant centres, according to the annual Transplant Activity Report from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

The same team performed 20 kidney transplants on children at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’, and a further 20 kidney transplants on young patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital. This was the largest children’s kidney transplant programme in the UK.

Due to COVID-19, the transplant programme at Guy’s and St Thomas’ was suspended at the end of March for three months. It re-started in late June.

Nationally, the annual report shows deceased organ donor figures were on course to surpass the previous year’s total, but unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March and had a wide-reaching impact across the whole NHS.

Despite this, 1,580 people in the UK donated their organs after they died, saving or improving the lives of 3,760 transplant recipients and giving hope to the thousands of patients still waiting.

As of the end of February 2020, 275 people were on the active transplant list at Guy’s and St Thomas’ – down from 285 people in the previous year.  

Francis Calder, consultant transplant surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We have the largest kidney transplant service in England, and we’ve been able to save the lives of hundreds of people thanks to all the donors and their families who have taken part in the programme.  

“Despite the challenges COVID-19 has posed, we will continue to look after patients, to give them the chance of a longer, healthier life.  

“Please talk to your family about your organ donation decision. Letting your family know that you want to save lives will make it much easier if there comes a time when organ donation is a possibility.”

NHSBT’s report reveals a steady increase in support for organ donation around the country, with 68% of families giving their consent when asked about organ donation.

In May the law around organ donation in England changed to an opt-out system, and it is hoped public support for organ donation will continue to build.

Organ donation remains a most precious gift. Adults covered by the new law change still have a choice about whether or not they want to donate and families are still involved before organ donation goes ahead.  

Anthony Clarkson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHSBT, said:  “We’re incredibly grateful to our dedicated colleagues at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and all the courageous donors and their families they worked with us to support, who helped us to save so many lives last year.  

“Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people. We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to let their relative’s final act to be saving lives through organ donation.

“No life-saving transplant would be possible without the generosity of every donor and their families, who give their support and say ‘yes’ to organ donation.

“With the new law around organ donation in England, we urge everyone to find out about the choices available to them, make their decision and share it with their family.”

Find out more and register your decision by visiting the NHS Organ Donor Register and share your decision with your family.

Last updated: July 2020

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