Transplantation of solid organs is an effective form of therapy for many patients with end-stage disease. The main organs transplanted are kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas and bowel. Other solid organs that have been transplanted include the thymus and composite vascularised organs, such as face, hand, arm, leg and uterus.The latter group are few in number and in only one or two centres. Ocular tissue is classified as tissue. Organs may be donated from deceased (after brain or circulatory death) or living donors.

Solid organ transplantation has advanced rapidly over the last 50 years and has migrated from a research, high risk procedure to a routine one with excellent outcomes. However, life after transplantation is usually very good, both in quality and quantity, but is rarely completely normal as recipients usually need life-long treatment to prevent rejection. Organs themselves come with a number of risks so all recipients need to be aware of the risks of organ transplantation as well as the undoubted benefits. The shortage of organs means that not all those who could benefit from a transplant can receive one.

The organisation of transplantation is fragmented in the UK, with commissioning and delivery of organ transplantation is shared by hospitals, health-care professionals, commissioners, departments of health, regulators and NHSBT. Different arrangements apply in different countries. Delivery of an effective service across the UK requires all parties to collaborate to ensure justice, equity and transparency. Central to the working of NHSBT is the collaboration with the Advisory Groups.

On these pages, we provide details of transplant outcomes, policies and processes which will demonstrate to patients, their families, donors and their families as well as health-care professionals and others how we use precious donated organs as effectively as we can and balance risks and benefits.


Policies describe how clinicians, scientists and others work to deliver the service. The polices are usually developed by the appropriate Advisory Group in discussion with other patient and lay groups and professional organisations. When agreed, these are reviewed and approved by the Senior Management Team of ODT and the Transplant Policy Review Committee, which acts on behalf of the Board of NHSBT where the statutory responsibility lies. When appropriate, guidelines are issued in conjunction with appropriate professional or statutory bodies. These policies are regularly reviewed and revised. Click here for Transplantation Policies

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