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ORGAN TRANSPLANTS: 5,259 operations were performed in 2017ORGAN TRANSPLANTS: 5,259 operations were performed in 2017Shutterstock

SPAIN has broken its own record for the number of organ transplants carried out in a year in 2017.

The country's National Transplant Organisation (ONT) said 2017 saw a total of 5,259 transplant operations performed beating 2016's record of 4,818 transplants.

The majority were kidney and liver transplants.

Spain also boasts a much higher average of organ donors with 46.9 donors per million people in 2017, compared with 43.9 per million in 2016 and 39.7 in 2015.

The EU average is just 19.6 donors per million and the US average is 26.6 per million.

Ten percent of donors in Spain are over 80-years-old.

Spanish Minister for Health Dolores Montserrat said the 2017 data means that Spain has topped the global list of transplants for 26 consecutive years.

"In the last three years the donation rate per million population has increased by 30 percent, which is extraordinary when starting from a position of excellence," she said.

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  • Excellent news! What is their secret?

    • A Newsweek article about Spain's first record year, which attributes their record to increased donations.

      "The Spanish model has been perfected by Matesanz since he took over the newly created ONT with a tiny staff in 1989, amid protests from kidney patients on endless waiting lists. In three years he took Spain to the perch of world leader, with donors per million rising from 14 to 22. It has stayed at the top ever since. “We decided to focus right away on the donation of organs. This might sound like a statement of the obvious, but all the other European transplant foundations of that time were focused on distribution.” Other countries’ donation organizations were, and in some cases still are, private foundations, whereas the ONT is part of Spain’s Health Ministry in a country where the importance of private hospitals in transplant surgery is minimal."

      Read more:  Newsweek article

      How Spain Became the World Leader in Organ Donations
      The man who broke records within a health service hampered by austerity chalks up his victory to 'organisation'.
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