Families are being urged to discuss organ donation after more than 30 West Sussex residents died waiting for a transplant.
Figures published today (July 20) reveal 39 West Sussex residents have died waiting for a transplant in the past five years and 94 people in the county are currently waiting for a transplant.
Across the UK in 2014/15, the number of people donating organs fell for the first time in 11 years.
NHS Blood and Transplant is highlighting the figures as it publishes the annual Transplant Activity Report, which details organ donation and transplantation across the UK.
On average, three people in the UK die each day in need of an organ transplant.
Currently, four out of ten families don’t give permission to donate when approached.
The latest figures show that last year in West Sussex, 39 people’s lives were saved or improved thanks to deceased donation. More lives would be saved if more families agreed to donate their loved one’s organs after death.
In West Sussex, 12 people also benefitted from a living donor transplant, where donors gave a kidney or part of their liver.
NHS Blood and Transplant is asking people in West Sussex to join the Organ Donor Register and then tell their family and friends about their decision.
A spokesperson for the organisation said: “Families are much more likely to agree to donation if they know it is what their loved one wanted.”
Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant’s Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, said: “We are truly grateful to the deceased donors who enabled 39 people in West Sussex to receive an organ transplant last year. Their donations have saved and improved lives.
“Sadly, 39 people from West Sussex have died while waiting on the transplant waiting list in the past five years.
“We cannot hope to save more lives unless there is a revolution in attitudes towards organ donation.
“We need everyone talk about organ donation with their families and agree to donate if ever they are asked.
“We understand that families are expected to consider donation in their darkest hour. So we would remind everyone - tell those closest to you now if you want to donate your organs and record that decision by joining the 298,136 people from West Sussex who are already on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
“Should the time come, your family will know you want to donate your organs to help to save others.”
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323.
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