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Organs still short even though donors up

22nd January 2009

New figures show that the number of people on the organ donor register in the UK has hit a record high.

surgeonatwork

Some 16 million people now carry a donor card meaning the government will meet the target set in 2001 of doubling the number of donors a year early.

The latest NHS figures show that Scotland and the south-west of England top the donor table with 32% of people on the register.

Despite the latest figures, the gap between the number of organs available and those needed for transplant is still growing with 1,000 people dying annually awaiting transplant surgery.

A debate on presumed consent, where people are automatically placed on a donor register unless they opt out, may have triggered a recent rise even though the move has been rejected in this country by government advisors.

A £4.5m public awareness campaign will be launched in England to boost donor numbers.

Across the UK figures show that in the North West, North East and Humberside, one in four carry a donor card, rising to 28% in the East of England but falling to 22% in the West Midlands and London.

UK figures remain among the lowest in Europe.

Chief executive of the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) body Lynda Hamlyn said: "Reaching 16 million on the NHS Organ Donor Register a year before planned is testament to the support that exists for donation in the UK. But, with almost 8,000 people in the UK currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, we need to do more."

 

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