National Organ Retrieval Service

The National Organ Retrieval Service (NORS) is a vital part of the transplantation pathway, which makes organ transplantation a realistic option for the 7000 people on the transplant waiting list.

In January 2008 the Organ Donation Taskforce published 'Organs for Transplant'. The report made recommendations towards increasing the UK deceased donor rates by 50%. By April 2013, following a detailed programme of work and with the support of donor families, the NHS and the health professions, that target was met.

NORS has played a vital role in contributing to the increase in deceased donors and organ transplants. The service was established by NHSBT in April 2010 following a specific recommendation from the Taskforce. As a key component of the organ donation and transplantation infrastructure, it provides a national 24 hour service for retrieving organs from UK donors.

NHSBT uniquely commissions the service on behalf of the four UK Health Departments, who contribute funding for the provision of an integrated UK wide retrieval service.

NORS has moved retrieval away from the pre-2009 arrangements, where multiple teams might attend a single donor, and the service has been very successful. The commitment and dedication of the healthcare professionals involved, in what is often a service delivered in challenging circumstances, across the UK, during antisocial hours, is acknowledged, and appreciated.

The new strategy for organ donation and transplantation (Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020) continues to focus on increasing the number of deceased organ donors, but also outlines specific recommendations aimed at increasing the number of organ transplants. The strategy can be found online at:

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.

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