More than 4,400 people in the UK had their lives saved or improved by an organ transplant last year.

Despite this, new statistics released today in the Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2014/15 shows the number of people that donated organs has fallen for the first time in 11 years and the consent/authorisation rate has remained stubbornly below 60% nationally.

St George’s appears to go against this trend. We reported the highest number of organ donors in the country last year and our consent rate is 77%, nearly 20% above the national average.

Dr Ashleigh Sherrington, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at St George’s said, “When surveyed independently the public are largely supportive of organ donation, but often this doesn’t translate to giving consent on behalf of their loved ones.

“The staff at St George’s are strongly supportive of organ donation and are committed to providing the best care to patients and their families at the end of life. We adopt a collaborative approach to supporting our patient’s families, with embedded specialist nurses working closely with critical care staff to ensure that organ donation is discussed at a time that is appropriate for them and their circumstances.

“When approached in the right way, at the right time, more of our families choose to proceed with organ donation. By incorporating organ donation into our usual end of life care model we are able to identify any potential donors in a timely fashion.

“As a trust this means we have had more donors in the last 12 months than any other hospital in the country and have facilitated over 120 lifesaving and life changing transplants.”

The report also reveals that families are much more likely to agree to donation going ahead if they know it is what their loved one wanted. Last year, nearly nine out of ten families said yes when their loved one’s decision to donate was known. With this in mind NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for everyone to be more open in their discussions about donation.

NHS Blood and Transplant’s Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, Sally Johnson, said: “We have always known that because the opportunities to donate are so small, it is essential to increase the number of people who say yes to organ donation. If the pool of potential donors is reduced then this is even more important.

“We understand that families are expected to consider donation in their darkest hour. So we would remind everyone to tell those closest to you now if you want to donate your organs – and then record that decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Should the time come, your family will know you want to donate your organs to help to save others.”

St George’s plans to continue our level of specialist care and support. We have a recently increased the number of specialist nurses. This will give the transplant team an even greater visibility in critical care areas of the hospital and we will be expanding our teaching programme to involve staff across different areas the trust.