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More donors than ever – but still a shortage as 40 await organs in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:30 09 July 2018

An organ donation box arriving at hospital for transplant operation. Picture: NHSBT

An organ donation box arriving at hospital for transplant operation. Picture: NHSBT

NHSBT

More people are giving lifesaving organs after their deaths than ever before, new figures have revealed, with a donor signing up every fortnight in Suffolk.

NHS Blood and Transplant figures showed that 24 people became deceased organ donors in the county last year, helping the UK reach its highest ever number.

The annual Transplant Activity Report revealed growing support for donation in Suffolk and around the country, where a record 1,574 people have saved lives through deceased organ donation in the last 12 months.

During 2007, just five people became deceased donors in Suffolk – five times fewer than the number of new donors last year.

However, there remains an overall shortage and an urgent need for more people to support donation.

While an average of three people die in need of an organ every day, many bereaved relatives are unaware of their loved-ones’ wishes to make a donation and save lives.

As of May 2018, there were still 40 people from Suffolk on the transplant waiting list.

Within Suffolk, 11 people from Ipswich are on the waiting list.

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to all the families in Suffolk who have chosen to say ‘yes’ to organ donation.

“Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people.

“We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to save lives through organ donation.

“We want more people to have that opportunity.”

The annual report also demonstrates how the average age of potential donors increased to 51 in Suffolk last year – but many over-50s choose not to join the NHS Organ Donor Register, or tell their families they want to donate, because they don’t think their organs could help, despite age and medical condition not necessarily being a barrier to donation.

Ms Johnson added: “We need more people aged over 50 in Suffolk to support donation.

“People in older age groups can still save and transform lives through organ and tissue donation.

“Many more lives could be saved by telling their families they want to donate.”

Join the organ register at organdonation.nhs.uk

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