National Organ Retrieval Services

The National Organ Retrieval Service (NORS) is a vital part of the Transplantation pathway, which makes organ transplantation a realistic option for people on the transplant waiting list.

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"

The strategy for organ donation and transplantation, Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020, aims to continue to increase the number of deceased organ donors, but also outlines specific recommendations aimed at increasing the number of organ transplants. This section of the website includes the latest statistical information on NORS team activity, as well as links to various NHSBT policies and reports regarding organ retrieval. Information and papers relating to the NHSBT National Retrieval Group are also provided.

Read the full Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020 Strategy

Read the NORS Report 


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.

Read the NORS Review report