Dying Matters calls for public debate on organ donation

11 April 2013
Dying Matters has called for a national debate following news of a ground-breaking 50% increase in organ donations in the last five years.

Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition, said: “It’s really encouraging that more people’s lives are being transformed due to increased levels of organ donation, but there’s still a long way to go.

"What we need now is a public debate on organ donation as part of a more open approach to discussing dying, death and bereavement, so that all of us can make informed choices about life and death issues.

"At the Dying Matters Coalition we’re committed to supporting people to have sensitive discussions about dying and to ensuring that more and more people talk about organ donation – and we look forward to working with partners including NHS Blood and Transplant to take this forward.”

The number of people donating organs after death has risen 50% since 2008, meeting the target set by the Organ Donor Taskforce. The increase in donated organs has led to a 30.5% boost in the number of people receiving a life saving or enhancing organ transplant in the last five years. There had been almost no increase in the number of deceased donors over the previous decade. More than 1,200 people in the UK donated their organs in the last year, leading to about 3,100 transplants.

Bill Fullagar, NHS Blood and Transplant Chairman, described the figures as "outstanding". He went on: "It is the result of the hard work and dedication of staff in hospitals and communities across the country.

"We must also share our heartfelt thanks with every family who, at a great time of sadness, supported their loves one's wish to donate their organs and transform the lives of up to nine other people."

Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant's Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, commented: "Although I am delighted that we have made such big advances in the UK, we can and must do more. We need a transformation in donor and family consent to organ donation because the UK's family refusal rate remains one of the highest in Europe. Without that, there is only a limited amount more the NHS can do to offer further hope to those on the waiting list for an organ transplant."

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