TWENTY-five people are currently waiting for a life-changing organ donation and doctors are urging people to give the gift of life this Christmas to help them.
The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging people of all ages to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and there is a need for more black and Asian organ donors.
The trust has joined forces with NHS Blood and Transplant this festive season to ask people across the borough to take a few minutes of their time online this Christmas to register as an organ donor here http://tinyurl.com/pmr8yqs.
Dr David Harling, a consultant anaesthetist at Rotherham Hospital, said: “One person dying because there isn’t an organ available to keep them alive, is one too many.
“This is something we’re all in a position to help with and it’s simple and easy to make those first steps.
“By taking just a few minutes to sign the Organ Donation Register online, and discussing your wishes with your family, you can potentially save someone’s life.
“What better gift could you give to someone this Christmas than that?”
Across the UK there are 6,500 people – including 150 children – waiting for a transplant.
A spokeswoman for Trust said there were currently 25 people in Rotherham on the transplant waiting list and 134 people in South Yorkshire – but a shortage of donors meant some people die before they receive a transplant.
In the last five years, eight people in Rotherham and 42 in South Yorkshire have died waiting for a transplant, added the spokeswoman, and over the last year 12 people in Rotherham and 53 people in South Yorkshire had a potentially life-changing transplant.
Research has shown that while 81 per cent of people say they support organ donation, only around a third of people in the UK (23.3 million) have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register.
In Rotherham, there are 75,934 people on the Organ Donation Register and 407,770 people in South Yorkshire.
Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant director of organ donation and transplantation, said: “It’s a terrible shame that so many people who want to save lives through organ donation have not taken the next, simple step to register that decision.
“This Christmas, we are asking everyone who supports organ donation to take just a few minutes of their online time to show that support by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.”
There is a particular need for more black and Asian organ donors because people from these ethnic backgrounds have a higher incidence of conditions such as diabetes and certain forms of hepatitis, making them more likely to need a transplant.
But people from these communities are less likely to agree to organ donation.
While some may be able to receive an organ from a white donor, for many others the best, or only, match would be from someone from the same ethnic background.
To find out more visit: www.nhsbt.nhs.uk.