Organ donor appeal

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There are 97 people in Cambridgeshire waiting for a transplant this Christmas and 31 Cambridgeshire residents have died in the last five years* due to the shortage of organs.

NHS Blood and Transplant is highlighting the figures as it asks people to talk to their families over the festive period about their decision to be an organ donor.

NHS Blood and Transplant has also released the results of a survey showing that only one in twenty people in England and Wales spending time with family at Christmas will be discussing organ donation. 83% of people in England and Wales said they would be spending Christmas with family this year[i] but family chats about holidays and the weather are much more likely to take place than about organ donation.

Anthony Clarkson, Acting Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Don’t miss the opportunity to discuss organ donation when you’re with your family this Christmas. We know that Christmas is a time for enjoying ourselves and talking about the nice things in life like future holidays. But for people in need of an organ, Christmas is a very difficult time so we are urging everybody to talk about organ donation.

“Twenty-eight people in Cambridgeshire have received a life-saving organ transplant from a deceased donor this year**. To help save more people we need everyone, including the 309,543 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register in Cambridgeshire, to talk to their loved ones about their donation decision***.”

Telling your loved ones about your organ donation decision is vital. In a separate piece of research carried out in England, only 31% of families said they would agree to donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s decision to donate[ii].

Fewer than 5,000 people each year die in circumstances where they can donate their organs, so we need to ensure that every potential donor who wants to donate is not prevented from doing so because their family do not know what they would have wanted.

NHS Blood and Transplant is asking people to tell their families this Christmas that they want to donate their organs, and to record their decision by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.

• *Figures on 9 December 2013. Those waiting includes those actively waiting, so they are ready for a transplant now, and those temporarily suspended due to illness or holidays.

Deaths includes those on the waiting list and those removed from the waiting list due to deterioration in their condition who then died. The last five years refers to deaths between 1 April 2009 and 10 December 2013.

** This year refers to transplants between 1 April 2013 and 10 December 2013.

*** Number on the NHS Organ Donor Register on 10 December 2013