Retrieval Advisory Group

The Retrieval Advisory Group is part of the National Organ Retrieval Service (NORS) which plays a vital role within the Transplantation pathway, and helps to facilitate Organ Transplantation as a realistic option for people on the transplant waiting list.

Forthcoming meetings




Terms of Reference

The service was established by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) in April 2010, since then NORS has been successful in playing a vital role in contributing to the increase in deceased donors and organ transplants. As a key component of the Organ Donation and Transplantation infrastructure, it provides a national 24 hour service for retrieving organs from deceased donors.

Following the Organ Donation Taskforce's recommendation in 2008, the Organ Retrieval Service and Specialist Nurses improved the number of people donating their organs.

"The number of people donating their organs after death increased by 50% between 2007/08 and 2012/13"

For more information, visit Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020 (p5 of the PDF). NHSBT uniquely commissions the service on behalf of the four UK Health Departments, who contribute funding for the provision of an integrated UK-wide retrieval service.


We have a range of full-time (on-call 52 weeks of the year) and part-time (on-call 26 weeks, on a week on/week off basis) NORS teams. Teams will be allocated to donors based on proximity and availability - if the closest team is already attending a donor, either another team will be asked to attend, or the closest team will attend when they are available again. Decisions about NORS team allocation are made by the NHSBT Duty Office.

Find more information about the role of the Retrieval Team

NORS Review

A review of the National Organ Retrieval Service in 2014/15 made a series of recommendations to ensure NORS continued to provide a high quality and economical organ retrieval service. The review board acknowledged and appreciated the commitment and dedication of the healthcare professionals involved in the service, which is often delivered in challenging circumstances and unfamiliar environments, across the UK, during anti-social hours.

View the NORS Review report on the Retrieval Policies and Reports page



The National Organ Donation committee, at the request of NHSBT, has commissioned four specific streams of work that are directly related to the strategic objectives of the organisation.

The workstreams are:

  • Donor identification and referral: a strategy for implementation of best practice Workstream Lead: Dr Alex Manara (Bristol)
  • Approaching the families of potential organ donors: a best practice guide Workstream Lead: Dr Angus Vincent (Newcastle)
  • Improving donation from the Emergency Department Workstream Lead: Dr Francis Andrews (St Helen's and Knowsley).
  • Donor optimisation: implementation of the donor care bundle Workstream Lead: Dr Gerlinde Mandersloot (Royal London)

Members of the committee are also involved in a variety of other projects, including:

  • Education and training for Intensive Care Medicine trainees
  • Donor recognition
  • CLOD job planning and governance
  • Cardiothoracic 'scout' system
  • Development of the Potential Donor Audit
  • Planning for the National Donation and Transplantation Congress, 2013 Details of these and other projects can be found in the minutes and papers of the National Organ Donation Committee.

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