Transplant waiting list death figures show desperate need for more donors in Warwickshire

NHSBT nurse Marc Coe with empty transplant boxes showing missed opportunities. Picture by Richard Crease.
NHSBT nurse Marc Coe with empty transplant boxes showing missed opportunities. Picture by Richard Crease.

Hundreds of life saving transplants are being missed every year because families do not know what their relative wanted.

New figures published by the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service reveal 44 people in Warwickshire have died on the waiting list for an organ transplant over the past ten years.

The service has drawn attention to this number of deaths to mark Organ Donation Week this week and is now urging people to tell their families they want to become donors.

Left to make the decision for someone they love, families often decide it is safer to say no when asked if their relative would have donated their organs.

The reluctance to talk about the issue is contributing to a deadly shortage of organs.

In Warwickshire, there are currently 47 people waiting for a transplant.

They will only receive that life changing call if people make sure their families know they want to be a donor.

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

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

“This Organ Donation Week, tell your family you want to save lives.

“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.

“In Warwickshire there are more than 217,000 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register. “However if you want to be a donor, your family’s support is still needed for donation to go ahead.

“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?”

NHS BT surveys show more than 80 per cent of people support organ donation but only around 49 per cent­­­ of people have ever talked about it.

Research shows that women are 30 per cent more likely to start a conversation about organ donation than men.

Families who agree to donate say it helps with their grief and that they feel enormous sense of pride at knowing their relative gave others the chance of a new beginning.

NHSBT wants everyone in Warwickshire to be able to save lives through organ donation and not be prevented from doing so because they have not told a relative their decision.

NHSBT carries out biannual attitudinal surveys.

The fourth wave, in 2017, involved 1,499 interviews carried out via online self-completion between the 10th and 21st of April 2017.

In this wave, 81 per cent of people supported organ donation in principle.

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