SHOCKING new figures have been released today to highlight the importance of organ donation.
There are 114 people in West Sussex waiting for a transplant - and 27 of the county’s residents have died due to the shortage of organs in the last four years.
NHS Blood and Transplant is publicising the figures to encourage people to pass on their donation wishes to their loved ones during National Transplant Week 2013, which starts today (Monday, July 8).
This year’s theme is Pass It On, stressing the importance of having a conversation about organ donation as well as joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.
To encourage people, some of the UK’s best known communicators are showing the public how important and easy it is to do.
David Harewood, Kay Burley and Wil Johnson feature in a series of short, memorable films which inspire people to have a conversation about organ donation with their loved ones. Also supporting the campaign is Richard Branson, whose film highlights the need for people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.
NHS Blood and Transplant is encouraging people in West Sussex to watch the films and talk to those closest to them about their donation wishes and sign up to the Organ Donor Register.
While 95 per cent of families agree to donation if a loved one has discussed their wishes and is registered on the Organ Donor Register, this drops to only 46 per cent when donation wishes aren’t known.
As well as signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register, it is vital people let those closest to them know that they want to be an organ donor.
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Since April, 13 people living in West Sussex have benefitted from a life-saving transplant
“To help more people we need everyone, including the 272,234 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register in West Sussex, to talk to their loved ones about their donation wishes.
“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.
“For this year’s National Transplant Week, we hope the people of West Sussex will Pass It On, we want everyone to be proud of our donation record in the UK.”
Besides having the donation conversation, signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register remains important. Joining is quick and easy - to register visit the site, call 0300 123 2323 or text DONATE to 62323.
For further information about National Transplant Week, including information about local events and how people can support the campaign, go to www.transplantweek.co.uk, join us on Facebook, NHS Organ Donation Campaign, and follow us on Twitter @NHSOrganDonor and #passiton.