With some families getting together over Christmas and New Year for the first time since the pandemic began, NHS Blood and Transplant has been urging people to take a moment during the celebrations to talk about their organ donation decision and to leave their family members certain of what they want to happen.
There are currently hundreds of patients awaiting the life-saving gift of an organ transplant in the North East and many of their lives could be saved or significantly improved if a donor is found. Yet every day across the UK someone dies in need of an organ transplant.
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHSBT, said: “Wherever and however people in the North East and Yorkshire plan to spend this Christmas, we hope that everyone will be able to enjoy the festivities and spend some much needed time with family and friends.
“For many thousands of people across the country, the only reason that they are able to enjoy a happy and healthy Christmas is thanks to the generosity of a donor and their family who so selflessly chose to give the gift of life. However, there are still thousands of people who are still desperately hoping and waiting for the transplant that will transform their life.
“Please take a moment this Christmas to let your family know your organ donation decision. Those conversations could help save the lives of people currently spending their Christmas waiting for a transplant.”
Even though the law around organ donation has now moved to an opt out system across England, Wales, and Scotland, many are still not aware that families will still always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead.
While families are more likely, and find it easier, to support donation when they already know it is what their loved one wanted, only 42% of the UK population
have registered their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and just 37% say that they have shared their organ donation decision with their family.