Organ donation: consent

The main facts and figures show that:

  • overall in 2017/18, around two-thirds of the families of eligible organ donors gave consent to organ donation after the donor had died
  • consent for organ donation was over 1.6 times as likely to be given for White patients (69%) than for those of all other ethnic groups combined (42%)
Things you need to know

Eligible donors are deceased patients aged 80 years and under in intensive care units and emergency departments.

If a patient is eligible to donate their organs, their family (or a named representative) is asked for consent close to the time of the patient’s death in a formal organ donation discussion. Consent is required even if the patient is on the NHS organ donor register.

Not all patients for whom consent was given will go on to donate.

In 2017/18, ethnicity was not known for 3% of eligible donors. The figures for this group are shown in the table and included in the total for all ethnic groups combined (shown as ‘All’ in the table and chart).

What the data measures

This data measures the number of eligible organ donors whose families consented to organ donation. This is expressed as a percentage of all eligible organ donors where consent was requested upon their death. The data is broken down by ethnicity.

The data is based on deaths over one year from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

The data covers the UK, including Scotland where consent is known as ‘authorisation’.

All data relates to deceased donors. Living organ donors are not included.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Due to the small number of eligible organ donors, the data is broken down into the following 2 broad categories:

  • White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
  • Other – all other ethnic minorities

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Number and percentage of eligible organ donors whose families gave consent to organ donation after their death, by ethnicity

Ethnicity Number approached Number who consented % consented
All 3,329 2,181 66
White 2,874 1,983 69
Other 347 145 42
Unknown 108 53 49

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, there were 3,329 eligible organ donors whose families were approached for consent for organ donation – of the donors whose ethnicity was known, 89% were White
  • overall, 66% of families of eligible organ donors gave consent for organ donation
  • 69% of families of White eligible donors gave consent for organ donation, compared with 42% of families of eligible donors from all other ethnic groups combined – this means that consent for organ donation was over 1.6 times as likely to be given for White eligible organ donors than for those of Other ethnicities
  • for eligible donors where ethnicity was known, consent was given for 1,983 donors from the White group, and 145 for those from all other ethnic groups combined

Methodology

Methodology

The data presented here is a summary of statistics from the UK Transplant Registry (UKTR).

The UKTR collects this information from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and hospital staff.

NHSBT capture information about potential organ donors through the Potential Donor Audit (PDA), which includes all patient deaths in UK intensive care units and emergency departments (excluding deaths on wards and any patients aged over 80 years).

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

NHS Blood and Transplant

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The source of this data is the UK Transplant Registry (UKTR). The purpose of the data set is to match and allocate organs for transplantation.

Download the data

Organ donation - Spreadsheet (csv) 16 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, value, numerator, denominator