New stats from the NHS’s Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2015/16, confirm that more people than ever been before donated organs after death, in the UK.
organ donation on the rise
In 2015/16, 1,364 people became organ donors when they died and their donations resulted in 3,519 transplants taking place.
– NHS Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 15/16
It is encouraging that there was a small increase in donations, but it is nowhere near where we need. The UK still has a desperate shortage of organs for transplantation, as 466 patients died while on the active waiting list for their transplant and a further 881 were removed due to deteriorating health and ineligibility for transplant. Many of these patients would have died shortly afterwards.
The NHS explains that it is consent from the family that is proving to be one of the greatest causes of this shortage.
the major obstacle
The NHS’s findings from their most recent report show that the donation consent rate increased to 62% but is still too low to ensure that there are enough organs to meet the demand. Last year almost 4 out of 10 families who were approached, did not agree to donation taking place.
The stats do not reveal the number of times families of the deceased refused to donate despite the fact that the deceased was a registered organ donor, yet the NHS says that when the family knows of the person’s wishes, they are more likely to give consent.
According to the NHS Blood and Transplant, “Families are more likely to agree to donation when a patient’s decision is known to them. Almost 9 out of ten families in 2015/16 agreed to donation when the patient’s decision was known, but fewer than 5 out of ten agreed when the patient’s decision was not known at the time of the potential donation.”
have the conversation
Whether you are a registered organ donor or not, it is your family or next of kin that has the ultimate say in what happens to your organs after you die, therefore the NHS is urging everyone to have the conversation about organ donation and what your wishes are.
NHS Blood and Transplant estimates that if 80% of families approached to donate a relative’s organs said yes, more than 1,000 additional transplants would take place across the UK each year.
We recognise that families are approached about organ donation at a difficult time, but with almost all of us prepared to take an organ if we need one, we need to be ready to donate too. Think about what we would want others to do for us if we ever need a transplant and be prepared to donate. Talking to your relatives about what you want is crucial as it is much more difficult to agree to donation when you don’t know what the patient would have wanted. There are around 6,500 people waiting for a transplant now and they need people to agree to donate for them to get the organ transplant they so desperately need. – Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant