More than 30 patients have died waiting for transplants in Cambridgeshire prompting launch of urgent donor appeal
Thirty five people in Cambridgeshire have died waiting for an organ transplant in the last five years, new figures have revealed.
NHS Blood and Transplant is urging more people across the county to tell their families that they want to save lives through organ donation.
Last year, 73 people in Cambridgeshire had their lives saved by a transplant.
Although the number of donors is increasing, and the waiting lists are reducing, right now there are around 6,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant across the UK.
During Organ Donation Week - which runs from today (September 3) to Sunday - the NHS is urging families to talk about donation with the message ‘Words Save Lives’.
Councils and organisations around the country are lighting prominent buildings pink, which is the colour of the modern donor card, in support of the country’s organ donation campaign.
Anthony Clarkson, interim director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s tragic that so many people from Cambridgeshire have died waiting for a transplant – what is shocking is that many of those lives could have been saved, had more families agreed to donate organs.
“People are dying every day because some families are not talking about donation. We need more families in Cambridgeshire to say yes to organ donation, so that more lives can be saved.”
He added: “We all know that organ donation legislation will change to a deemed consent system in England and Scotland in future years but the harsh fact is people are dying right now waiting for an organ and it will still be important for people to know your decision.
“We don’t want people to die because of a fatal complacency that because you know you want to be an organ donor you presume your loved ones know it too.
“Please, let your family know your decision and ask them if they want to be donors. Don’t leave your family guessing what you would have wanted to happen.
“We know that many families feel enormous pride and comfort at knowing that their relative went on to save lives through the gift of organ donation.”
Nationally, around three people die a day in need of an organ. Only a small percentage of people die in circumstances where they can donate.