Spain saw 36 donors per million people in 2014, "far superior" to the European Union figure of 19. Photo of a surgical team
Spanish surgeons beat their own organ donation record in 2014 despite serious cuts to the country's health system in recent years.
A total of 4,360 organ donations were carried out in Spain in 2014, beating the Spanish record of 4,279 notched up in 2013, new figures released by the country's National Transplant Organization (ONT) on Tuesday show.
Of these transplants, 2,678 were kidneys, 1,068 were liver transplants and 265 were heart transplants.
Spain also saw 36 donors per million people in 2014 — equal to 1,682 donors — "far superior" to the European Union figure of 19, health authorities said of the 2014 results.
That also put Spain far ahead of other countries, with 26 donors per million people in the US, 25 in France and a tad under 15 in Germany, according to the transplant body's latest figures from 2011.
"We are at record highs, which means we can assert once again Spain is at the world leader in donations and transplants, thanks to the people's cooperation and the dedication of health professionals, (and thanks to) the National Health System," said health minister Alfonso Alonso on Tuesday.
The so-called Spanish Model for organ donation has achieved such good results that its measures have been adopted by the World Health Organization and many countries in Europe and Latin America.
"Spain's management model brings the best out in people," ONT told The Local. "Ninety percent of bereaved family members tell us that allowing their loved one's organs to be donated helped them to overcome their loss."
However, the ONT sounded a note of warning: 54 percent of current donors are older than 60, the organization said in a statement.
The ONT is targeting a 10 percent increase in donors and a 20 percent increase in transplanted organs in 2015. This would bring the total of such operations performed up beyond 5,000.
Spain's success in organ donations and transplants come despite the Spanish government's 2012 decision to slash annual health spending by €7 billion euros ($9.6 billion) a year to shore up public finances in the face of the country's economic crisis.