Third of Hartlepool’s population become organ donors – but more still needed

Organ donation box arriving at hospital for transplant operation.
Organ donation box arriving at hospital for transplant operation.

About a third of Hartlepool’s population have signed up as potential life-savers according to new figures.

In the last five years the number of people on the NHS Organ Donor Register has gone up by 29% and now stands at 34,162.

Five years ago, six people had lifesaving or life improving transplants thanks to the register, last year there were eight.

But despite the positive growth, the donor service says there is still a national shortage or organ donors and is urging more people to sign the register.

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “More people than ever in Hartlepool are committing to organ donation and that is saving more lives than ever.

“It’s amazing to picture all the people now alive today thanks to organ donation and think of all the families and children who have grown up thanks to donors.

“We’re seeing more and more people committing to donation and the good results of our close work with hospitals.”

For the North East, a total of 351,173 have opted in on the register, representing 35% of the population.

And NHS Blood and Transplant’s annual Transplant Activity Report shows the number of people alive in the UK thanks to transplants has reached the milestone figure of 50,000.

But Ms Johnson added: “However there is still a long way to go. Around three people still die a day in need of a transplant.

“Every one of those people who died could be a mother or a father, a daughter or a son, who might be alive today.

“Families tell us donation is a source of pride that helps them in their grieving process.

“We don’t want anyone to miss the opportunity to save lives through organ donation.

“Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register. It only takes two minutes.”

The number of people nationally on the register is 23.6 million.

That represents 36% of the UK population, compared to 30% five years ago.

But about 6,400 people are currently waiting for a transplant.

The donor service says they particularly want more people from black and Asian backgrounds to register as there are currently not enough.

Anyone can sign up as a donor and a person’s age or any existing medical conditions should not prevent it.

In 2013, the UK Government and NHS launched a seven year organ donation and transplantation strategy.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or contact the 24 hour a day donor line on 0300 1232323.