News posted 27 July, 2021

MFT continuing to save lives through organ transplantation during Covid-19 pandemic

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New figures out recently reveal that across Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) there were 213 lifesaving and transforming transplants carried out last year (2020/21).

MFT’s transplant teams worked collaboratively and quickly to reconfigure services to enable these transplants to be undertaken safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

185 transplants were carried out by Manchester Royal Infirmary’s Renal Transplant Unit, and a further 28 took place at Wythenshawe Hospital’s Heart and Lung Transplant Centre. Both hospitals are part of MFT.

NHS Blood and Transplant and MFT have released the figures to mark the publication of NHS Blood and Transplant’s annual Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Activity Report.

The report reveals a steady increase in support for organ donation around the country, with 69% of families giving their consent/authorisation when asked about organ donation.

The annual report shows the number of patients receiving transplants fell last year due to the pandemic where Covid-19 had a wide-reaching impact across the whole NHS and every aspect of UK society.

Despite this, 1,180 people in the UK donated their organs after they died, saving or improving the lives of 3,391 transplant recipients and giving hope to the thousands of patients still waiting.

MFT is the biggest NHS Trust in the UK, managing ten hospitals across Manchester and Trafford. Of these hospitals, Wythenshawe Hospital is a national leader in heart and lung transplants, while Manchester Royal Infirmary is home to one of the busiest kidney and pancreas transplant units in the country.

Mr Richard Montague, Medical Director at Wythenshawe Hospital said: “We’re very pleased to have been able to continue our life-saving work last year, despite the pressures brought on by the pandemic.

“The Heart and Lung Transplant Team at Wythenshawe Hospital is the specialist centre for lifesaving heart and lung transplant operations for the whole of the North West of England, and usually performs around 60 lifesaving transplant operations a year.

“Our expert team are leaders in the field of transplantation, with patients across the North of England and further afield relying on their vital work.”

Dr Jon Simpson, Medical Director at Manchester Royal Infirmary added: “Here at MRI we usually perform around 300 transplants a year. While these numbers dropped last year as we focussed our attention to the Covid pandemic, we’re happy that we were still able to improve many lives through transplantation.

“This is all thanks to our dedicated team who work incredibly hard for our patients across Greater Manchester and the North West, and of course our generous organ donors.

“Please talk to your family about your organ donation decision. Letting your family know that you want to save lives will make it much easier if there comes a time when organ donation is a possibility.”

The law around organ donation in England changed to an opt out system in May last year and in March this year in Scotland, and it is hoped public support for organ donation will continue to build.

Organ donation remains a most precious gift. Adults covered by the new law change still have a choice about whether or not they want to donate, and families are still involved before organ donation goes ahead.

John Forsythe, Medical Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation, at NHS Blood and Transplant, says: “This past year has been completely unprecedented in the history of the NHS, as well as in our wider society. So, the fact that we managed to maintain three quarters of our normal donation and transplantation activity across the UK is absolutely phenomenal.

“There’s no escaping the fact that organ donation and transplantation will take some time to recover completely, as will the rest of the NHS. But each one of us in the wider clinical team of donation and transplantation, across the UK, are immensely proud of the work to keep organ donation and transplants happening in the most challenging circumstances. But our commitment is nothing compared with donors and their families – the gift of life has been donated in the midst of a tragedy made even more difficult by Covid restrictions.”

Find out more and register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register at and share your decision with your family.