People in the region are being urged to discuss their organ donation wishes with family, even if they have already joined the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Many in Dumfries and Galloway have already expressed their wish to be an organ donor, with 35.5 per cent of the community signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.
However, although many think joining the NHS Organ Donor Register is enough, sharing organ donation wishes remains fundamental to relatives honouring a loved one’s choices in the event of their death.
The call comes as research shows that almost half of people in Scotland (45 per cent) haven’t discussed their organ donation wishes with their family, and one in ten (12 per cent) of those who are on the NHS Organ Donor Register haven’t spoken to loved ones about their decision.
Since 2010/11, the family authorisation rate for organ donation – when a family member agrees that donation can proceed - has increased from 57.1 per cent to 61.6 per cent. If the rate was to further increase to 80 per cent, around 90 more lives could be saved each year.
With around 550 people in Scotland currently waiting on a life-saving organ, the Organ Donation Scotland campaign is highlighting how the seven words, ‘I’d like to be an organ donor’ can save up to seven lives.
Dr Willis Peel, Consultant Anaesthetist and Organ Donation Lead for NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: “Its great that so many people in Dumfries and Galloway are on the Organ Donor Register. However many have not let their loved ones know this. I would encourage everyone to sit down and have a ‘wee chat’ and discuss their wishes with their closest relatives. Loosing someone close is difficult to come to terms with, but it’s made easier knowing their final wishes are acted upon.”
Minister for Public Health, Maureen Watt, said: “Scotland has made huge progress in organ donation and transplantation, and it’s fantastic that 41 per cent of Scots have expressed their wish to donate their organs by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register. The message we want to get across is that it’s vital people talk about their organ donation wishes with friends and family, even if they have joined the Register, so these wishes can be honoured.
“Your family are twice as likely to agree to donation if they know it’s what you would have wanted and we know that in the last five years, almost two thirds of those who donated their organs weren’t on the Register. With many Scots currently waiting on a transplant, making time for a ‘wee chat’ could ultimately save lives.”
Join the NHS Organ Donor Register by visiting organdonationscotland.org