Belfast Trust supports Organ Donation Week

05/09/2016

Over the last five years, 113 patients have helped ‘turn an end into a beginning’ at Belfast Trust by becoming an organ donor after their death.

That’s according to figures provided by NHS Blood and Transplant to mark Organ Donation Week ( 5-11 September). The week aims to highlight how people could give someone the chance of a new beginning by telling their family they want to be an organ donor.
 
Every day across the UK, around three people who could have benefited from a transplant die because there aren’t enough organ donors. Currently in Northern Ireland, around 155 people are on the active waiting list for a transplant.
 
Of the approximately half a million people who die each year across the UK, only around 1% (5,603) die in circumstances where their organs could be donated.
 
With such small numbers of people dying in the right circumstances to become an organ donor and so many adults and children in need of a transplant, it is vital that no opportunities for someone to become a donor are missed.
 
Many people believe that all you need to do to show you want to be a donor is to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. However, if you die in circumstances where you could become an organ donor your family would be approached by specialist nurses and asked to support your decision to donate. 
 
NHS Blood and Transplant figures show that less than half of families agree to organ donation if they are unaware of their relative’s decision to be a donor. Yet almost 90% of families give their consent when the decision to be an organ donor is known.

Sarah Hawkins, Specialist Nurse Organ Donation at the Royal Victoria Hospital, said,“We’re delighted by the number of lives saved or improved by the generosity of donors and their families at our hospital over the past five years.
 
“Life-saving transplants are only possible if people are willing to be donors and we are extremely grateful to the 113 people from the Belfast Trust who helped to give a new beginning to people across the UK.
 
“Their families should be very proud that they agreed to donation going ahead and we hope that others will be inspired to talk about organ donation and to share their decision with their relatives.”
 
There is a particular need to encourage more black and Asian families to talk about organ donation. In 2015-16, only 5% of all deceased donors came from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background and families from these communities are more likely to refuse consent than white families.
 
Start a conversation today and help turn an end into a beginning. Join the NHS Organ Donor Register and make sure you tell your friends and family your decision.  Visit organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.