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Nation urged to break silence on organ donation and Say Yes I Donate this National Transplant Week (7th - 13th September 2015)
16.9 million people - a third of UK adults - admit they haven't considered organ donation or decided if they want to be an organ donor, NHS Blood and Transplant reveals.
And 4.1 million people who do want to donate their organs when they die say they haven't talked to a loved one about that decision.*
Across the UK there are 10,000 people in need of a transplant. Last year the number of people donating organs fell for the first time in 11 years. The UK also has one of the lowest rates in Europe for families consenting to organ donation and in 2014/15 only 58% agreed to donate their family members' organs after they died.
This National Transplant Week NHS Blood and Transplant wants to get the whole nation talking about organ donation and the importance of sharing decisions on being an organ donor with family and close friends. The Seven Days to Say Yes I Donate campaign aims to help break down barriers and taboos around organ donation.
Anthony Clarkson, NHS Blood and Transplant's Assistant Director for Organ Donation and Nursing said: "Every day three people die in need of a transplant. Yet across the UK 1 in 3 adults haven’t considered organ donation or decided whether they want to be an organ donor.
"To save more lives we need more donors. To raise that number we really need everyone to understand the importance of not being complacent. We need to get to the point where organ donation is high on the list of important personal conversations we routinely have with loved ones."
The National Transplant Week survey found that, as a nation, we are happy to talk about many personal topics, yet we are avoiding conversations that could mean the difference between life and death for someone in need of an organ transplant:
Even among those who want to be organ donors, there is reluctance to talk about the subject - with key reasons being discomfort around talking about death and not wanting to upset family members.
Reluctance to talk about organ donation means many healthy organs that could be donated aren't used.
Anthony Clarkson added: "As a nation we're happy sharing dreams of big money wins and bucket-list holidays, and we'll confide in our loved ones our worries about how we look. Yet too many of us are still not making the time or are not comfortable talking about organ donation.
"Telling your loved ones you want to be an organ donor means your family will be in no doubt about your decision meaning your wishes will be fulfilled should you die in circumstances where organ donation is possible.
"Over the next seven days we'd like everyone to give a few minutes of their time to think about organ donation and talk about whether they want to be an organ donor with their relatives or a close friend."
Of those who have had a conversation about organ donation with a loved one an overwhelming 93% said it was an easy conversation to have - although nearly a quarter (23%) admitted that chat was over five years ago.
NHS Blood and Transplant is working with partners to help raise awareness and get involved in the Seven Days to Say Yes I Donate campaign:
*Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,072 UK adults aged 18+ by online survey between 5-6th August 2015. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk.
For more information, or to request a case study please NHS Blood and Transplant Press Office on 01923 367600 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for Editors