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With organ donation law changing in spring 2020, families are being urged to make and share their organ donation decision
More people than ever before across the UK donated their organs after their deaths last year, according to the Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2018/19, being published today. In Essex, 25 people gave the gift of life, by donating their organs after death.
Nationally, there was a record number of organ donors, with 1,600 people saving lives through deceased organ donation over the last year.
However, the report also shows that across the UK, fewer people died in circumstances where they were able to donate their organs – 225 fewer than in 2017/18. This means it is more important than ever that every person who wants and is able to donate their organs after death, is given the opportunity to do so. Sadly in Essex over the last five years, 51 people died before they received the organ they desperately needed.
Organ donation is a relatively rare event in the UK, because although around half a million people die each year, only around 1% do so in circumstances which allow organs to be donated.
From spring 2020, the law around organ and tissue donation in England is changing. All adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.*
Organ donation is a most precious gift and adults covered by the change will still have a choice whether they want to be an organ donor and their families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead.
As the families of potential donors will continue to be approached by specialist nurses and asked to support their relative’s decision to be an organ donor, it’s hugely important that families know what their relative would have wanted to happen. Talking about your organ donation decision to your relatives makes it much easier for them to support what you want.
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said:
“We’re incredibly grateful to all the courageous donors and their families across the country, who helped us to save so many lives last year.
“Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people. We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to let their final act to be saving lives through organ donation.
“No lifesaving transplant would be possible without the generosity of every donor and their families, who give their support and say ‘yes’ to organ donation.
“There are 123 people in Essex waiting for a transplant now. Their only hope for a new life is that a family in their time of grief will make the wonderful decision to agree to organ donation.
“With the law around organ donation changing in England from next spring, we urge everyone to find out about the choices available to them, make their decision and share it with their family.”
If you would like to help others after your death tell your family your want to be an organ donor and join the NHS Organ Donor Register.
It’s your choice whether or not you want to donate your organs. Please register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register and ensure you tell your family: www.organdonation.nhs.uk