Patients dying while awaiting organ transplants

Anthony ClarksonAnthony Clarkson
Anthony Clarkson
NEW figures show that 19 Rotherham people have died while waiting for an organ transplant in the past ten years.

NHS Blood and Transplant revealed the statistic to encourage potential organ donors to sign up - and to tell relatives about their wishes.

The service said “hundreds” of life-saving organs were wasted each year, due to families opting not to donate.

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Although 73 per cent of people surveyed by the service think next of kin should not be able to overrule them after their death, this is still possible.

And health bosses repeated the call for everyone to make their wishes known now, rather than leaving the decision to grieving relatives.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced during the Conservative Party conference earlier this month that the Government planned to move towards a policy of “presumed consent” for organ donation, meaning people would have to opt-out of the national organ register.

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation and transplantation, said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in Rotherham, waiting for transplants.

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“We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.”

He added: “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 - if you want to be a donor, your family’s support is still needed for donation to go ahead.”

NHS Blood and Transplant said it particularly needed people of ethnic minorities to sign up and speak up.

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Patients from these communities make up 29 per cent of the national waiting list, but they are still less likely to agree to donate.

Those waiting for organs are more likely to find a match in a donor of the same ethnicity.

Mr Clarkson added: “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?”