DOZENS DIE IN WAIT FOR ORGAN TRANSPLANTS
Figures revealed as MPs are set to vote on law change
MORE than 70 people have died in Bucks in the past 10 years while waiting for an organ transplant, new figures show, as MPs are set to vote on a bill to change donation laws.
Figures show there were 76 deaths of people in the county on the active or suspended transplant list between 2007/08 and 2016/17.
On Friday February 23, Geoffrey Robinson MP will present a Private Members’ Bill in the House of Commons to change organ donation laws in England to an opt-out system, following the Mirror’s Change the Law for Life campaign.
At present people have to opt in to become a donor after their death.
The law change will mean they will automatically be considered a donor unless they have previously decided to opt-out.
Family members could still overrule this should they wish. Wales has already moved to an opt-out system, with Scotland set to follow.
Max Johnson, nine, from Winsford, Cheshire, became the face of the Mirror’s campaign when he waited, seriously ill, for a heart transplant at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
He underwent a transplant last summer and is now doing well, and is calling for MPs to vote to change the law next week.
He said: “Politicians have the chance to change the law to help all the other kids who I left behind in hospital still waiting for a transplant. Please, please, please ask your MP to do it.”
Max’s mum Emma will be in London to see the vote.
She said: “In 2016, 470 people, including 14 children, died while on the transplant list or died after they had been taken off the list, because they had become too ill for surgery.
“In the same period, 460 organs suitable for transplant were not used because of lack of consent. We must change the law.’
There were more than 75 people waiting for a transplant in Bucks as of August 2017. In Chesham and Amersham seven people were on the list, while “five or fewer” were recorded in Beaconsfield. Between 2012/13 and 2016/17, 204 people in Bucks received transplants, with 74 dead donors giving organs during the same period.
In Wales, where an opt-out system was introduced in December 2015, 65% of the public in Wales had opted in or taken no action to opt-out by June 2016.
The opt-out system has the backing of the BMA, which has campaigned for the change for many years, with British Medical Association council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul saying it “has the potential to save many lives”.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have both backed a change in the law.