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Surge in organ donors

5th September 2008

Scotland has seen a major increase in the number of people signing up to be organ donors following a hard-hitting advertising campaign.

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The TV advertisement, titled Kill Jill, was first broadcast in March and adopted a strong approach to the subject.

But it is believed to have been seen by up to three million people and led to a 300% rise in donors.

The Scottish government has defended the approach saying the results justify the strategy.

The advertisement, which records the experience of transplant patients, coincides with a debate in the UK over how to increase the number of organ donors and whether a system of presumed consent should replace the present opt-in system.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon, said: "During the course of the campaign there were around 85,000 people signing up in Scotland to be organ donors.

"Now some of them would have signed up anyway but given the numbers it would suggest the campaign accounted for a 300% increase."

The new National Clinical Director for Transplantation in England, Chris Rudge, believes that whether the law is changed or not, it is important to press ahead with changes recommended by a UK-wide Organ Donation Taskforce.

These include the creation of a new national network of hospital based transplant co-ordinators partly modelled on the experience of Spain.

Organ donation rates in the UK are among the lowest in the developed world, at 12.9 per million people in the population. The equivalent figure for Spain is more than twice as high at 35.5 per million.

 

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