Government should urgently review organ donation options, TUC will be told

Published: 09 September 2016 SoR

More than 7000 people awaiting transplants of which 1300 will die before a donor is found, or will be too ill to benefit.

The number of people donating organs and the number of transplants is decreasing at the same time as the demand for donations is rising. The Society of Radiographers (SoR) will tell this year’s TUC Congress (Brighton Centre, 11-14 September) that government must be pressed to review the NHS organ donation programme and reverse the trends.  

“More than 7000 people in the UK are waiting for someone to donate an organ and 1300 of those will die or will become too ill to receive it whilst they wait for a transplant,” commented Sue Webb, an NHS radiographer, who will propose the Motion 47 on behalf of the trade union.

“More than half a million people die in the UK each year, yet less than one per cent are organ donors.”

The Society says that the number of people donating organs has fallen for the first time in 11 years and the figures for 2014/15 show that the number of transplants went down by five per cent compared with the previous period.

The reasons for the fall in donor and transplant numbers is believed to be because fewer people died in circumstances where they could donate (8.7% decrease), and there has not been an improvement in the number of people who give consent.

“Whilst 90 per cent of adults claim that they support organ donation, less than a third are on the organ donation register,” Sue Webb said.

“There is an issue around families not providing consent, despite the deceased being on the register,” she continued. “Also, the next of kin are more likely to agree to organs being removed for transplantation if they knew that was what the deceased wanted. Even so, some families will not provide consent even when they know the potential donor’s views.”

The SoR motion at TUC calls on the UK government to urgently consider all options to increase donations.