The release of the latest annual Transplant Activity Report has stated that the rise in organ donation is saving lives—50,000 lives this year to be exact.
This is the first time the 50,000 milestone has been reached, according to NHS data. More specifically, the figure included 36,300 kidneys, 9,800 livers, 1,900 pancreas and 1,000 intestines. The number of officially registered donors has also reached a new record, with 23.6 million being signed up—up 4.9 million from five years previously. The recent figures released by NHS Blood and Transplant have revealed the number of organ donators have risen from 30 percent of the population in 2016 to 36 percent this year. Additionally, transplant figures have risen by 20 percent in the last five years.
Small pockets of villages and small counties have reaped the benefits of this change in public opinion. Cumbria was reported to have received a huge amount of transplants; consequently saving 363 lives in the area. Similarly, evidence is suggesting that survival rates of patients who receive donated organs have also increased. Organs are becoming more likely to function and keep on functioning within their new host, saving lives of people across the UK.
Sally Johnson, director of NHS Organ Donation and Transplantation, commented: ‘Families tell us donation is a source of pride that helps them in their grieving process. Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register. It only takes two minutes.’
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Whatever has spurred this sudden surge in donators, it is certainly positive for the NHS and for patients. However, despite the rise in numbers, there is still a shortage of organs as the needs of patients increase yearly. Sadly, the same report also showed that 457 people who were on the active transplant waiting list died, as they did not receive one in time. The NHS has commented that there is a real urgency for people from Asian and other ethnic backgrounds to donate, as these are in seriously low supply. People from similar ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be a match in blood type, therefore campaigns are being conceived for donors from all backgrounds to come forward.
In England and Northern Ireland, you must be self-registered to be considered for organ donation. Alternatively, your family members must grant permission for you. Scottish residents are automatically enrolled and must opt out if they wish to, following a similar rule laid down in Wales in 2015. The same system has been suggested in England and Northern Ireland but has since been rejected—for now both will continue to rely on public awareness campaigns.
While the rise in organ donations is saving lives, there is always more we can do. Have you been meaning to register but not yet got around to it? Sign up today, you could save a life.
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