Ian Trenholm, chief executive for NHS Blood and Transplant paid St George’s a visit last month. He was here to meet our organ donation team and congratulate them on another successful year.

St George’s achieved the highest rate of organ donors in 2014-15 with 43 families deciding to say “yes” to donation, an increase from 27 families the previous year. These donations have helped 120 lives to be saved or improved. This is an amazing achievement and an incredible gift from the donors, and their families.

We are the leading trust for organ donation in the UK. Our 77% donation consent rate is 10% higher than the national average. Something we believe endorses our approach to organ donation.

One of the aims for our model of donation is to give the family time to come to terms with their loved one’s diagnosis before a discussion about end of life care choices including, organ donation. All families are supported by the entire multidisciplinary team and the donation process is led by our Specialist Nurses for Organ Donation (SNODs). It is the collaborative approach that has allowed us to improve the quality of care and information we deliver.

Ian was given a grand tour of our critical care areas and the simulation lab where staff can learn a variety of skills and be assessed using scenarios associated with the donation process.

He said, “It was great to talk about how we are working with the St George’s team to facilitate organ donation. It was good to hear that over the last year the number of donors from St George’s has increased, bucking the national trend.

“Despite this hard work three people a day in the UK are dying each day waiting for an organ. At NHSBT we are determined to work with hospitals to offer families faced with bereavement of a relative the opportunity to donate organs.”

Dr Argyro Zoumprouli, clinical lead for organ donation at St George’s said, “We were very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Ian about our successes and the challenges we face every day within a busy trauma centre at St. George’s.

“The high level of activity creates challenges around bed and theatre capacity which can impact upon the donation process. Despite these difficulties we embrace organ donation as a routine part of end of life care when appropriate.

“Clinicians and Managers actively support organ donation within our Trust. Over the last five years we have worked very hard to introduce policies and implement training in order to improve awareness and understanding of organ donation amongst staff. The aim is to help identify potential donors early and support families consistently throughout the process.

“We regularly receive positive feedback from Donor families regarding the support they have received and this can be attributed to our high consent rates.”

St George’s recognises the contribution of the donors and their families who have given the gift of life through our ‘Tree of Life’ memorial. An annual remembrance day to recognise the donors and their families is held, where loved ones can place an inscribed leaf on the memorial tree. This year it will be held 4th July 2015 in the Atkinson Morley wing.