Organs needed to save more lives

Do you know what your relatives want?
Do you know what your relatives want?

Hundreds of life-saving transplants are being missed every year because families did not know what their relatives wanted.

That is according to NHS Blood And Transplant, which is urging people to tell their families if they want to become organ donors.

They say that when people are left to make the decision for someone they love, they often decide it is safer to say no to giving their organs.

But new figures released today at the start of Organ Donation Week show 386 people in Greater Manchester died while on the waiting list for an organ transplant over the past 10 years. That included 41 people from Wigan.

A further 33 people in the borough, and 306 across Greater Manchester, are now on the transplant waiting list.

Wigan is the organ donation hub of Greater Manchester - the number of people signing up to the register rose by a third in the past five years - but more are still needed.

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 Greater Manchester 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 Manchester there are more than 863,000 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?”

Surveys show more than 80 per cent of people support organ donation, but only around 49 per cent of people have ever talked about it.

Research shows that women are 30 per cent more likely to start a conversation about organ donation than men.

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

There is a particular need in Greater Manchester for more black and Asian people to talk about donation.

NHS Blood And Transplant say patients from these communities make up 29 per cent of the national transplant waiting list, but they are less likely to donate.

However, 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.

In 2016, The Post launched our Giving The Gift Of Life campaign after cystic fibrosis sufferer Jack Johnstone received a double lung transplant.

To sign up for the NHS Organ Donor Register or find out more about organ donation, go to www.nhsbt.nhs.uk or call 0300 1232323..