Talk to your family about organ donation, says NHS Blood and Transplant

father and son in coffee shopAs many as 3,000 potentially life-saving transplants were missed last year because families declined the donation of their relative’s organs, according to NHS Blood and Transplant.

Despite record levels of organ donation, family refusals are the biggest barrier to organ donation. Surveys show that around 80 per cent of people support organ donation, yet only 33 per cent of people have told their family that they want to donate.

When a family does not know their loved ones wishes, they are far more likely to refuse to give their consent to organ donation.

Gareth Evans, 45, from Stockport, has been on the waiting list for nine years. He originally had a heart transplant in 1990, aged only 17, after he contracted cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle.

Gareth was recently moved to the urgent waiting list due to his declining health, and says: "We need more donors now to save more lives every day. People shouldn’t just sit there and hope their families know what they want. There are people who need their lives saved today, mine included. Organ donation saves lives and I am so grateful for that every day.”

Anthony Clarkson, interim director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We don’t want people to die because of a fatal complacency that because you know you want to be an organ donor you presume your loved ones know it too.

“As an individual who believes in organ donation you need to make sure that you join the NHS Organ Donor Register and tell your family your wishes, your family’s role is critical now and it will still be critical in the future."

Read more: BBC