Suffolk and Essex deaths of people on organ transplant waiting list highlights reluctance to talk about issue, says NHSBT

NHSBT nurse Marc Coe with empty transplant boxes. Picture: RICHARD CREASE

NHSBT nurse Marc Coe with empty transplant boxes. Picture: RICHARD CREASE - Credit: Archant

Nearly 150 people in Suffolk and Essex have died while on the waiting list for an organ transplant over the past 10 years, new figures have revealed.

The tragic number of deaths in the two counties has been highlighted by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to mark Organ Donation Week – which runs from tomorrow until September 10.

The statistics reveal that 105 people from Essex and 39 from Suffolk have died while waiting for a transplant in the past decade.

There are currently 177 people on the transplant waiting list in Suffolk and Essex, and NHSBT believes a reluctance to talk about the issue is contributing to the deadly shortage of organs.

The public body says that hundreds of transplants are being missed every year because families are not aware of what their relative wanted. Left to make the decision for someone they love, families often decide it is safer to say no.

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation and transplantation for NHSBT, said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in Suffolk and Essex waiting for transplants.

“We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.

Most Read

“This Organ Donation Week, tell your family you want to save lives. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference. It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.

“If you want to save lives, don’t leave it too late to talk to your family.

“In Suffolk and Essex there are more than 920,000 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

“However if you want to be a donor, your family’s support is still needed for donation to go ahead.

“If you are unsure about donation, please ask yourselves as a family – what would you do if one of you needed a transplant?

“Would you accept a life-saving organ? If you’d take an organ, shouldn’t you be prepared to donate?”

NHSBT is calling on people to support Organ Donation Week and raise awareness of the importance of letting relatives know their decision.

To support Organ Donation Week click here for more information.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter