NHS makes organ donation plea after transplant deaths
Seventy-six people died in Bucks over 10 years waiting for operation
NHS Blood and Transplant revealed the 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 do not know if their relatives wanted to donate organs.
Left to make the decision for someone they love, families often decide it is safer to say no.
The reluctance to talk about the issue is contributing to a deadly shortage of organs.
In Buckinghamshire, there are currently 82 people waiting for a transplant.
They will only receive that life-changing call if people make sure their families know they want to be a donor.
The figures include 29 people from Milton Keynes who have died waiting for a transplant in the past decade and 27 people who are on the transplant waiting list.
Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in Buckinghamshire waiting for transplants.
“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. In Buckinghamshire there are more than 314,000 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register. However, if you want to be a donor, your family’s support is still needed for donation to go ahead.
“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?”
In Buckinghamshire there is a particular need for more black and Asian people to talk about donation.
There are 33 black or Asian people from Buckinghamshire currently waiting for a transplant.
Patients from these communities make up 29% of the national transplant waiting list but they are less likely to agree to donate.
Organs from people from the same ethnic background are more likely to be a close match and give the best chance of a positive outcome.
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 Buckinghamshire 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 www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/ get-involved/promotingdonation-hub/downloaddigital-materials/ organ-donation-week/.