People are opting to sign donor register

Declan Grace, lead clinician organ donation.
Declan Grace, lead clinician organ donation.

The Organ Donation Specialist at the Western Trust has said attitudes towards organ donation are changing for the better.

Dr Declan Grace marked the beginning of National Organ Donation and Transplant Week by revealing the west has seen a steady increase in the number of actual donations over the past five years.

“This increase can be attributed to a number of factors but mainly the changing attitudes of society and people being more open to the possibility of donating their organs after death.”

In 2013/14 the Western Trust had 12 donors in total this resulted in the retrieval of some 46 organs.

However there is still a real shortage of organs, with approximately 200 people in Northern Ireland waiting for a lifesaving or life changing transplant and every year around 15 people in Northern Ireland die waiting for an organ transplant.

Dr Grace added: “People are talking a lot more about organ donation and with the on-going promotional campaigns from the NHSBT, the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the excellent work of our specialist nurses in organ donation these have collectively helped to dispel any fears of donating organs.

“We now find that when we approach the next of kin of someone who is suitable for organ donation that they are more likely to say yes and donate the organs of their loved one, than to refuse.

“More locally the Western Trust has been engaging with community groups and schools to simply encourage people to talk openly about organ donation and share their organ donation decision with family and friends.

“No-one wants to think or talk about dying but set in the context of helping someone or more than one person after death, the conversation becomes a little easier.

“Organ donation transforms and saves lives and we encourage everyone to join the register and tell their loved ones about their wishes,” Dr Grace said.