Dying Matters calls for public debate on organ donation

Categories: Community Engagement.

The number of people donating organs after death in the UK has risen by 50% since 2008 – meeting the target set by the Organ Donor Taskforce.

In the past year, 1,212 people in the UK donated their organs, enabling 3,112 organ transplants to take place.

Eve Richardson, chief executive of the Dying Matters Coalition, said: “It’s really encouraging that more people’s lives are being transformed due to increased levels of organ donation, but there’s still a long way to go.

“What we need now is a public debate on organ donation as part of a more open approach to discussing dying, death and bereavement, so that all of us can make informed choices about life and death issues.

“At the Dying Matters Coalition we’re committed to supporting people to have sensitive discussions about dying and to ensuring that more and more people talk about organ donation – and we look forward to working with partners including NHS Blood and Transplant to take this forward.”

The Welsh Government is planning to introduce a soft opt-out system for consent to deceased organ and tissue donation in Wales, with the aim of increasing further the number of organs and tissues available for transplant.

Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant’s director of organ donation and transplantation, said: “Although I am delighted that we have made such big advances in the UK, we can and must do more. We need a transformation in donor and family consent to organ donation because the UK’s family refusal rate remains one of the highest in Europe. Without that, there is only a limited amount more the NHS can do to offer further hope to those on the waiting list for an organ transplant.”

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