latest health care news

09.09.15

Staff and patients must ‘break silence’ on organ donation as UK lags behind

A third of UK adults have never considered donating an organ or spoken to their loved ones about it, research by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has revealed.

Last year, the number of organ donors fell for the first time in 11 years, despite 10,000 people nationwide needing a transplant – and three dying per day because of a lack of donations.

The organisation said the reluctance to discuss the subject of death with family members has taken its toll on the UK organ donation pool – which has now slumped to one of the lowest rates in Europe for families consenting to donate.

NHSBT is urging the nation to “break silence” during this year’s National Transplant Week (7-13 September) through the ‘Say Yes I Donate’ campaign, supported by several trusts around the country.

Anthony Clarkson, NHSBT’s assistant director for organ donation and nursing, said: “To save more lives we need more donors. To raise that number we really need everyone to understand the importance of not being complacent. We need to get to the point where organ donation is high on the list of important personal conversations we routinely have with loved ones.”

Professionals are urging everyone to “give a few minutes for their time” to think about donation over the next seven days, as well as approach family members or close friends about the subject.

Part of this campaign includes ‘the Thunderclap’, in which social media users can sign up to take part in a joint posting tomorrow (10 September) that will go live at the same time.

Staff from trusts nationwide were equipped with information to discuss organ donation this week, including Addenbrooke’s Hospital, part of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS FT, where staff, patients and donors hit the streets of the city to talk to members of the public about donating. There are 240 people on the hospital’s waiting list for organs, most of whom need a new kidney.

To add your name to the NHS organ donor register, access NHSBT’s online registration form.

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