Hundreds of people in West Yorkshire are facing an agonising wait for a transplant, new figures reveal today, as health chiefs are urging families to discuss organ donation.
A total of nearly 260 patients are waiting on the register for a life-saving transplant, according to NHS figures, including some 74 people in Leeds.
And the statistics also show that, following the launch of the YEP-backed Be A Hero campaign in 2015, the number of people signed up to the NHS Organ Donation Register in Yorkshire has risen by more than 17,500 in the last year.
The figures have been shared as part of the Be A Hero to mark Organ Donation Week, which kicks off today and runs until September 8.
From spring next year, organ donation in England will switch to an ‘opt out’ system, meaning adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be a donor when they die - unless they record a decision not to donate. As part of the campaign today, a ‘voiceless’ actor will be standing inside a transparent box in the city centre, which organisers say aims to represent those whose organ donation views are ignored after they die.
Dr Claire Tordoff, clinical lead in organ donation at Leeds, said: “This year we wanted to start Organ Donation Week with a powerful message about the impact of family consent, and so the silent box symbolises the voices of people whose organ donation wishes have gone unheard.”
She said it was important that families understood feelings towards organ donation.
For more information, or to sign up as an organ donor ahead of the law change, visit https://www.leedsth.nhs.uk
Numbers are on the rise
Two million people are registered as organ donors in the region, including 287,000 in Leeds.
Be A Hero is urging people to have the vital conversation with their families to register their decision about organ donation.
And the campaign’s new #DonationConversation initiative is encouraging people in the region to talk about organ donation with their nearest and dearest before recording their decision on the register, to ensure their wishes are honoured.
The number of people waiting for a transplant in Yorkshire and the Humber in 2018/19 is 497, a two per cent rise since 2017/18.