More than 800 people in Yorkshire and the North East in need of a lifesaving transplant

Families urged to talk about organ donation and register their decision

During Organ Donation Week, September 26 to October 2, NHS Blood and Transplant and Bradford Teaching Hospitals are urging people to register their donation decision and talk to their families about organ donation as more than 800 people in Yorkshire and the North East are in need of a lifesaving transplant.

Last year 4,324 people waiting for an organ transplant in the UK had their lives saved by the generosity of the 1,397 deceased organ donors and their families who gave the gift of life. In Yorkshire and the North East, 358 patients received a lifesaving transplant from a deceased donor last year and 186 residents in the region donated their organs after death.

Over half of those had recorded their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register. However, 6,500 people are still actively waiting for a transplant with a further 3,000 currently temporarily suspended.

Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Consultant Anaesthetist, Dr James Morgan, said:

In our Trust alone, 122 patients are currently waiting for a kidney transplant and between 2021and 2022, nine people from the district died waiting for the donor organ that never came which is a tragedy for our patients and their families.

In the same period, 26 people across the district received the gift of life while five patients generously donated after their death.

Here at the hospital we see the huge benefits that organ donation can bring so please, this organ donation week, talk to your family and leave them certain about your wishes.

Only around 1% of people who die in the UK every year are usually able to donate their organs after death. Donors are typically those who have died in a hospital intensive care unit or emergency department due to brain injuries, cardiac arrest or other trauma.

Last year (2021/22) 605 families in the UK declined to support organ donation, for reasons other than the fact that their relative didn’t want to be a donor. With each potential donor giving an average of three organs, it is estimated that this could equate up to 1,815 missed opportunities for those waiting for a transplant. It is vital that everyone who wants to be a donor registers their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and talks it through with their families who will be expected to support their decision should the time come.

Families are far more likely to support donation when they already know it was what their relative wanted. More than 92% of families honoured their family member last year when the donor had either proactively registered their decision to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register or spoken with their family.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation, at NHS Blood and Transplant, says:

Every day across the UK there are thousands of patients and their families, waiting for that all important life-saving call. Yet, this is often only possible as a result of another family receiving some of the hardest news they might ever have to hear.

With 804 patients in Yorkshire and the North East waiting for organ transplants, it’s more important than ever to register your organ donation decision and make it known to your family and friends. Leave them certain of what you want to happen in the event of your death.

We urge all family members of all ages to take a moment this Organ Donation Week to register and share your decision.

This year, the UK will ‘Go Pink’ for Organ Donation Week. Councils, businesses, charities and famous landmarks up and down the country are turning their lights pink for the week to show their support for the thousands waiting for a transplant. The aim is to turn the country pink, to help people really see the support for organ donation around the country, and prompt people to have the conversation.

Even though the law around organ donation has now changed to an ‘opt out’ system across England, Scotland and Wales, family members will still always be involved before organ donation goes ahead and will be expected to support their loves one’s decision. This means it is still just as important as ever to register your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and ensure your friends and family know what you want.

For more information, or to register your organ donation decision, please visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23. NHS app users in England can also use the service to record, check or update their organ donation decision.