We Need To Talk About Organ Donations, Says NHS As Many Die On Transplant Waiting List

4 September 2017, 11:04 | Updated: 4 September 2017, 11:18

Organ Donation

By Bev Rimmer

New figures show 65 people in Cambridgeshire have died on the waiting list for an organ transplant over the past 10 years.

NHS Blood and Transplant revealed the tragic number of deaths to mark Organ Donation Week (September 4 to 10), and is now urging people to tell their families they want to become donors.

Hundreds of life saving transplants are being missed every year because families don't know what their relative wanted.

Julie Bartlett is waiting for a new heart, and has told us: "I could get a call in the next five minutes, or it could be in the next five years. I just don't know.

"I have to be positive that the call will happen one day. 

"In the meantime, I have to help raise awareness and encourage more people to sign the Organ Donors' Register. 

"Meeting other people whose lives have been saved by transplants has certainly helped me stay positive."

Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.

"This Organ Donation Week, tell your family you want to save lives. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference. It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.

"If you want to save lives, don't leave it too late to talk to your family.

"If you are unsure about donation, please ask yourselves as a family; what would you do if one of you needed a transplant? Would you accept a life-saving organ? If you'd take an organ, shouldn't you be prepared to donate?"

NHS Blood and Transplant surveys show more than 80% of people support organ donation but only around 49% of people have ever talked about it. Research shows that women are 30% more likely to start a conversation about organ donation than men.

Families who agree to donate say it helps with their grief and that they feel enormous sense of pride at knowing their relative gave others the chance of a new beginning.

NHS Blood and Transplant wants everyone in Cambridgeshire to be able to save lives through organ donation and not be prevented from doing so because they have not told a relative their decision.

To support Organ Donation Week visit http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/get-involved/promoting-donation-hub/download-digital-materials/organ-donation-week/