NHS Blood and Transplant urges people in Essex to tell their family their organ donation decision this Christmas

There are 164 people in Essex waiting for a transplant this Christmas and 55 residents have died in the last five years due to the shortage of organs.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is highlighting the figures (as of December 9) as it asks people to talk to their families over the festive period about their decision to be an organ donor.

NHSBT has also released the results of a survey showing that only one in 20 people in England and Wales spending time with family at Christmas will be discussing organ donation.

Eighty-three per cent of people said they would be spending Christmas with family this year, but family chats about holidays and the weather are much more likely to take place than about organ donation.

Anthony Clarkson, acting director of organ donation and transplantation at NHSBT, said: “Don’t miss the opportunity to discuss organ donation when you’re with your family this Christmas. We know that Christmas is a time for enjoying ourselves and talking about the nice things in life like future holidays.

“But for people in need of an organ, Christmas is a very difficult time so we are urging everybody to talk about organ donation.

“Fifty-nine people in Essex have received a life-saving organ transplant from a deceased donor this year. To help save more people we need everyone, including the 545,810 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register in Essex, to talk to their loved ones about their donation decision.”

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In a separate piece of research carried out in England, only 31 per cent of families said they would agree to donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s decision to donate.

Fewer than 5,000 people each year die in circumstances where they can donate their organs. The organisation needs to ensure that every potential donor who wants to donate is not prevented from doing so because their family do not know what they would have wanted.

NHSBT is asking people to tell their families this Christmas that they want to donate their organs, and to record their decision by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.

To join the register, visit organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.