The PHA is urging everyone in Northern Ireland to join forces to support National Transplant Awareness Week, which runs from 9-15 July.
The theme for this year’s National Transplant Awareness Week is ‘Pass it On’, which is about encouraging others to sign the Register and most importantly expressing their wishes to family and friends.
Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency and Chair of the Northern Ireland Committee for Organ Donation, said: “I have signed the NHS Organ Donor Register, and told my friends and families… have you?”
“Over 90% of families will agree to donation if a loved one is registered and has discussed their wishes. This drops to around 40% if donation wishes aren’t known.
“The PHA is asking people to reduce the waiting times for a transplant by helping to make sure more organs are available by signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. There are approximately 300 people in Northern Ireland currently waiting for an organ and 15 local people die each year because there are not enough organs available.
Eddie continued: “We need more people to sign the register. Together we can improve these figures, ensuring more donations can take place and more lives can be saved. It’s important to remember though that if you join the Register without telling the people closest to you, your wishes may come as a surprise to them at a distressing time which could result in consent not being given. To stop this from happening, have the conversation with family members and friends, so that they are aware that if the time ever came and they needed to give consent, they could do so, knowing it was what you wanted.
Edwin Poots MLA, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, said “Views on organ donation are personal and emotive. However the fact remains that, despite the great improvements in donation over recent years, people are still dying whilst waiting on a transplant.
“Numbers on the organ donor register have increased, which is wonderful, but more still needs to be done. We all have the opportunity to help others in need and save lives by joining the Organ Donor Register and by discussing your wish to donate an organ with family and friends. It is one of the most generous things a human being can do to help others.”
Eddie concluded: “Registering is simple: call 0300 123 23 23, text JOIN to 84880 or visit www.transplantweek.co.uk. I would encourage everyone, who has not yet done so, to register today and, as this year’s theme suggests, ‘Pass it On’, discuss your wishes with your family and friends.”
Contact the PHA Communications on 028 9055 3663.