Scottish surgeons have carried out a record number of organ transplants

SCOTTISH surgeons have carried out a record number of organ transplants, as the number of donors across the UK shows signs of increasing.

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary revealed it had carried out 15 life-saving transplants in 15 days - compared with around six or seven it would normally expect to carry out in this time-frame.

Consultant transplant surgeon John Forsythe said deceased donors giving organs had increased by 20 per cent in the last two years, which he said was down to increased education about transplantation.

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But the NHS is keen for even more people to sign the organ donor register to increase the chances for hundreds of others currently awaiting organs.

NHS Lothian revealed that 14 patients had undergone 15 transplants in 15 days from 28 October to 11 November at the ERI's transplant unit. All the patients were said to be doing well.

Ten patients received liver transplants, three had kidney transplants and one patient had a combined pancreas and kidney transplant.

Last year the ERI carried out 195 transplants, while 282 were completed across Scotland.

UK-wide there were 3,706 transplants in 2009/10 - up 5 per cent on the previous year.

NHS Lothian has launched a new campaign to urge even more people to sign up to the donor register to increase transplants even further.

Mr Forsythe, who is the lead clinician for organ donation in Scotland, said the 15 transplants in 15 days was a record for the transplant team at the hospital.

"This is an amazing level of activity for the Edinburgh Transplant Unit and it is very welcome news for the 14 patients who received a life-saving organ transplant," he said.

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"Thanks to the selfless generosity of organ donors, 14 individuals and all those connected to them, be it husbands, wives, sons, daughters, parents, colleagues, team-mates, will see at first hand the miracle of organ donation."

Mr Forsythe said the number of organ donors giving organs for transplant had increased by 20 per cent across the UK.

"This is thought to be due to education and publicity programmes which have focused on the positive effect of transplantation," he said.

"Many more people have therefore had the chance to receive a life-saving transplant."

Mr Forsythe said while the transplants were good news, there were still about 650 Scots waiting for a transplant. On average three people die each day in the UK while waiting for an organ.

"We can all help change this," Mr Forsythe said. "The more people we have on the register, the better the chance of saving lives. I would urge everyone to join the register today. You can join online or even by text.It takes two minutes and you could save up to eight lives.

"Finally, I would like to thank the whole transplant team at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh who worked tirelessly over this 15-day period".

The health board has teamed up with staff, big businesses and organisations, as well as patients to launch the Sign Up to Save a Life campaign, which is backed by families who have experience of transplantation.