Donors up but organs still short

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

The number of people on the organ donor register in the UK has hit a record 16 million, but the gap between supply and demand for organs is still growing.

A government target of doubling the number of donors from eight million in 2001 has been hit a year early, as 8,000 people await a transplant.

The NHS figures show people in Scotland and the south-west of England are the most willing to become donors.

It is thought the debate on presumed consent may have boosted numbers.

The idea of introducing presumed consent, under which people would be automatically placed on the organ donor register unless they “opted out”, was rejected by a panel of experts appointed by the government last year.

Instead, a £4.5m public awareness campaign is to be launched in England aimed at boosting voluntary donor numbers.

More than one in four people in the UK are now on the register.


  • Scotland: 32%
  • North-East: 24%
  • North West: 25%
  • North West: 25%
  • Yorkshire and Humberside: 25%
  • East Midlands: 25%
  • West Midlands: 22%
  • East of England: 28%
  • London: 22%
  • South Central: 27%
  • London: 22%
  • South West: 32%
  • Wales: 27%
  • Northern Ireland: 27%

Since 2001, nearly 24,000 transplants have been carried out using donor organs, but at least 4,500 people have died while waiting for a suitable organ to become available.

Despite the rise in numbers, the UK still has one of the lowest organ donation rates in Europe.

This year, about 1,000 people are expected to die waiting for an organ.

There is a particular shortage of organs for black and Asian patients, who on average wait about three or four times longer for an organ than white patients, according to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

Organ donor register rates are, at 32%, highest in the health regions that cover Scotland and south-west England, followed by the south-east coastal area of England at 30%, according to figures collated by NHSBT.

Lynda Hamlyn, the body’s chief executive, 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.

“More than a quarter of the population have demonstrated their commitment by signing the register.

“But, with almost 8,000 people in the UK currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, we need to do more.”

NHSBT said it was looking at draft plans to try to increase the number of organ donors by a further nine million by 2013.

A spokesman said this was “a challenging target that we cannot achieve without a huge amount of public support”.


This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation

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2 Responses

  1. I figure that when I’m dead, I won’t need it; so both of us are registered donors. I like the concept of presumed consent. Then one must make a decision in order to opt out.

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