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Britain needs to encourage organ donation

25th February 2009

Chair of NHS East of England Keith Pearson is to oversee a drive to increase organ donation in his region.

healthcare in the ukQ

Britain’s record on organ donation is unacceptable. With about 8,000 people on the waiting list for a transplant and 1,000 patients dying every year while still on that list, this country has one of the worst organ donation rates in Western Europe.

As leaders of the NHS, we are in a position to make a difference by supporting local campaigns and the organ donation task force.

I am challenging boards in my region to take action to help meet the target set by the Prime Minister to raise the current number of people on the organ donor register from 16 million to 25 million 2013 and see 1,400 extra transplants a year in the next five years.

It is important because of those registered, perhaps only 1% will die in a way that permits their organs to be used.

Effectively, the number of potential donors is as low as 1,500 a year.

We need to increase the size of the national register and the willingness of families to release organs.

We also need to avoid differences of donor numbers in primary care trusts. In the east, Cambridgeshire PCT has 33.3% on the register while another PCT has less than 20%.

I am going to oversee a communications and engagement strategy that increases numbers because we can do so much better in meeting the challenging of saving more than 1,000 lives every year through the precious gift of organ donation.

 

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