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Higher number of organ donations and transplants for 2017, according to final full-year figures

On 28 December last, the Department issued a press release — embargoed until the following day — reporting 98 deceased organ donors during the year. 

The Department has now confirmed to MI that the final number of deceased donors for 2017 was 99. This is a record number of deceased donors, with a previous high of 93 in 2011. 

In its press release last December, Minister for Health Simon Harris stated: “I am heartened that 2017 marked our highest annual transplant performance and saw 308 transplants carried out in our hospitals for the first time.” 

However, last week the Department confirmed to MI that the total number of transplants in 2017 was actually 311. It also reported that 51 living donor kidney transplants took place in 2017 and this record figure remained the same. 

The final figures showed 192 kidney transplants in 2017, up two from the 190 cited in the Department press release; and 62 liver transplants (up from the reported 61). 

The full year-end statistics remained the same as those in the Department press release for heart (16 transplants), lung (36) and pancreas (five) transplants. 

In the press release, the Minister also underlined that he was “delighted with the level of support for the proposed soft opt-out system for organ donation”, with 261 completed responses received to the public consultation. “Our objective is to increase organ donation and the number of transplants arising as a result. Eighty-three per cent of consultation respondents stated that the proposed opt-out system would encourage them to discuss their intentions regarding organ donation with their next-of-kin.” 

A Department spokesperson said the press release was marking the fact that the milestone of 300 transplants had been reached before the end of 2017 and the totals until 28 December were included “by way of further information”. 

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