‘Desperate shortage’ of organ donors in North

British Heart Foundation calls for new system to deal with transplant waiting list

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has highlighted the need for registered organ donors in the North. File photograph: Getty Images/Thinkstock

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has highlighted the need for registered organ donors in the North. File photograph: Getty Images/Thinkstock

 

A drop in the number of people donating organs highlights the need for an opt-out donation system in Northern Ireland, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has said.

BHF Northern Ireland wants the soft opt-out system that is being implemented in Wales rolled out across the UK.

This system assumes that people consent to donate their organs unless they state otherwise.

The call from the BHF comes as figures from the organ donation and transplantation activity report revealed a 5 per cent drop in the number of transplant operations being carried out in the North over the last year.

The foundation noted that eight people in Northern Ireland are currently waiting for a heart transplant.

It said that across the UK there are currently 286 patients on the waiting list for a heart transplant, compared with 126 in 2010.

BHF statement

Jayne Murray, head of BHF Northern Ireland, said: “Tragically, these figures show that the number of available organs is outstripped by the number of heart patients waiting for a lifeline.

“For many critically ill heart patients a transplant can offer the best chance of long-term survival, but there is a desperate shortage of registered donors.

“That’s why BHF Northern Ireland supports the introduction of a ‘soft opt-out’ system across the UK where it’s assumed that someone is happy to donate unless they, or their family, say otherwise.

“From December, Wales will implement the opt-out system and we hope Northern Ireland will follow Wales’s trailblazing lead.”

PA