Donor Target Achieved
A call to double the number of people on the organ donor register to 16 million has been achieved a year early, figures showed.
More than one in four (26%) people in the UK have now pledged to donate their organs after death, according to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
In 2001, former Health Secretary Alan Milburn urged people to sign up to double the number from eight million then to 16 million in 2010.
Back in 2001, 5,532 people were waiting for a transplant but this has now shot up to almost 8,000 and is rising, according to NHSBT.
Since January 2001, 23,551 organ transplants have been carried out using donor organs, but at least 4,500 people died while waiting for a transplant over that period.
Lynda Hamlyn, chief executive of NHSBT, said:
“Reaching 16 million on the NHS Organ Donor Register a year before planned is testament to the support that exists for donation in the UK.
“More than a quarter of the population have demonstrated their commitment by signing the register. But, with almost 8,000 people in the UK currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant we need to do more.
“Around 3,000 organ transplants take place in this country every year, but during the same period approximately 1,000 people — three a day — die while waiting because of the shortage of donated organs.”
Health minister, Ann Keen, said: “It is fantastic news that 16 million people have put their names on the Organ Donor Register. But there is still much to do. We remain firmly committed to helping many more people benefit from a transplant and want to see organ donation rates rise significantly over the next four years from the current 800 donors to 1,400 per year by March 2013.”
People can join through a driver licence application, registering with a new GP practice, the Boots Advantage Card, passport applications, a number of local authority SmartCard schemes and through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).