Essex: 50 die due to shortage of donated organs

People urged to talk about donation wishes

People urged to talk about donation wishes - Credit: IAN BURT

More than 50 people have died in Essex due to a shortage of organs over the last four years, new figures have revealed.

According to the NHS Blood and Transplant Service, 173 more are still waiting for a transplant to take place in the county.

Now experts are urging people to sign the Organ Donor Register and talk about their wishes with loved ones to prevent grieving families blocking vital donations.

The campaign to ‘Pass It On’coincides with the start of National Transplant Week today. Dr Marion Wood, clinical lead for organ donation at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We encourage people to put their names on the organ donor register but it’s as important for them to talk about it with their families.

“Sometimes we find a situation arises where someone is not going to survive from whatever has happened and they have put their name on the register but their families didn’t know about their wishes.

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“Because they are in an upsetting situation they may not give consent as they are not prepared and didn’t know this was what their loved one wanted.

“People are upset enough but on the other hand are keen to do something that would help somebody else at a time when there’s nothing else that can be done.”

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Figures from the NHS Blood and Transplant Service reveal that while 95% of families agree to a donation if it has been discussed, this drops to 46% when donation wishes aren’t known.

Dr Wood has personal experiences of organ donation after her brother-in-law died suddenly in 1991.

He suffered a brain haemorrhage and his heart, lungs, liver and corneas were used for transplant surgery.

She said: “We knew he would have wished to donate his organs.

“We were desperately sad and upset about the situation but somehow it made it seem more bearable to know that good was being done for other people.”

Last year, 20 people had transplant operations in north Essex compared to 15 in 2009/10. There are 553,738 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register in Essex.

To join the register visit, call 0300 123 2323 or text DONATE to 62323.

n To encourage people to talk about donation, some of the UK’s best known communicators are showing the public how important and easy it is to ‘Pass It On’.

David Harewood, Kay Burley and Wil Johnson feature in a series of short, memorable films which inspire people to talk about organ donation with their loved ones.

Also supporting the campaign is Richard Branson, whose film highlights the need for people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.

NHS Blood and Transplant is encouraging people to watch the films at

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