More than sixty people in West Sussex have died waiting for an organ transplant over the past decade.
According to new research by the NHS hundreds of life saving transplants are being missed every year because families don’t know what their relative wanted.
In West Sussex 64 people have died on the waiting list for an organ transplant since 2007 while 84 people are currently still waiting for new organs.
NHS Blood and Transplant says the reluctance to talk about the issue is contributing to a ‘deadly shortage’ of organs.
The figures have been released as part of Organ Donation Week and NHS Blood and Transplant is urging people to tell their families they want to become donors.
Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in West Sussex 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.”
Research shows more than 80 per cent of people support organ donation but only around 49 per cent of people have ever talked about it.
Women are 30 per cent more likely to start a conversation about organ donation than men.
Mr Clarkson added: “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 West Sussex there are more than 345,000 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?”
To support Organ Donation Week visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/get-involved/promoting-donation-hub/download-digital-materials/organ-donation-week/