The number of people who have donated organs in the UK has fallen for the first time in more than a decade.
Shock figures from NHS Blood and Transplant’s Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2014/15 have revealed the first year-on-year drop in donations in 11 years, prompting a call for people to discuss their wishes and sign the NHS Organ Donor Register.
There were just 4,431 transplants in 2014/15 compared with 4,655 in the year previous – meaning 224 fewer people received an organ transplant.
It is thought the five per cent drop is linked to fewer people dying in circumstances where they can donate and no increase in the rate of people consenting to their organs being used after death by signing the donor register.
In Yorkshire there were 19.7 donors per million of the population last year, which is below the national average.
Gordon Crowe, team manager at the Yorkshire Organ Donation Services Team, said: “The transplant waiting list, although it has decreased over the years, still has 7,000 people waiting for a lifesaving transplant. It’s still imperative that people sign up because those patients are still in need of a transplant. It’s a simple fact that organ donation saves lives.”
He added that nationally 2013/14 was “almost an outstanding” year for organ donation, explaining the year-on-year drop, while regionally there was a small rise in the number of deceased donors last year.
NHS Blood and Transplant’s report has warned that the consent rate for organ donation remains “stubbornly” below 60 per cent, and unless there is a revolution in attitudes people will continue to die waiting for transplants.
Director of organ donation and transplantation at the organisation, Sally Johnson, said: “Should the time come, your family will know you want to donate your organs to help to save others.”