A total of 20 local people have had their lives saved or transformed over organ donation within the past year, it has emerged.
The Western Trust has confirmed that almost half of adults within the local are now registered to be organ donors, but local health professionals have urged everyone to tell their loved ones of their wishes as family consent is needed for organ donation to go ahead.
The call comes during Organ Donation Week. Almost 48 per cent of the adult population locally are registered potential donors. However, there remains a real shortage of organ donations with 140 people in Northern Ireland and around 6,000 people in the UK waiting on life-saving transplants. Unfortunately, every year around 14 people in Northern Ireland die waiting for an organ transplant.
Dr Declan Grace, Lead Clinician for Organ Donation at the Western Trust, said: “Organ donation really is the gift of life and the Western Trust is encouraging everyone to join the Organ Donor register and tell their loved ones that they wish to be a donor so that they are aware of their wishes.
“Deciding to become an organ donor is entirely your decision but it does affect your family. After your death, your next of kin will be consulted. When families or friends know your wishes it makes the situation less stressful for them and the decision to donate less difficult and can give them the confidence to fulfil your wish to be an organ donor.
“The more people pledge to donate their organs and tissues after their death, the more people stand to benefit. In 2018/19 there were eight organ donors in the Western Trust area, resulting in 20 patients receiving a life-saving or life-changing transplant.
“The Western Trust continues to promote organ donation in partnership with local councils, colleges and universities.
“While the number of people who have registered as potential donors is very encouraging, there is still a lot of work to do to ensure as many people as possible join the Organ Donor Register and tell their loved ones about their wishes.”
You can register as a potential donor online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or www.organdonationni.info
Or, register when applying for or renewing a driving licence, or with a GP practice. Telephone the NHS Donor Line 0300 123 23 23. Telephone lines are open 24 hours a day. You can also register when applying for a Boot’s Advantage Card, or download a form via www.organdonation.nhs.uk, print and return by Freepost.