Increase in people signing up to be organ donors in Forth Valley

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The number of people signing the organ donation register in Forth Valley has increased substantially.

More than 35,000 people have added their names over the past three years – but the area is still below the national average and need a further 3000 to sign up to reach this target.

Dr Helen Tyler, NHS Forth Valley’s clinical lead for organ donation, said: “The increase in the number of people signing up is very good news indeed.

“It means there is more chance of a potentially life-saving and life-changing gift for someone this year.

“We have been making a concerted effort in Forth Valley to increase awareness of the importance of organ donation and, although more than 800 people in Scotland had an organ transplant last year, there are still more than 550 people waiting.

“It is our hope that by raising awareness of these figures we can open discussions about organ donation within the family setting so loved ones decisions around donation are known and communicated.”

Last year, a former NHS Forth Valley emergency nurse, who carried out her husband’s wishes to donate his organs, supported a series of local events to support Organ Donation Week.

Jane Hall visited Forth Valley Royal Hospital and Falkirk and Stirling Community Hospitals to invite people to have a special ‘heart’ cup cake and hear how talking about organ donation with her husband prior to him suffering a catastrophic brain haemorrhage, helped make the decision to donate a lot easier.

Jane, who worked in both the former Stirling Royal and Falkirk and District Royal Infirmaries, said: “We were left with a short time to come to terms with what had happened and I reminded my son of our discussion many years before when we agreed at that point which route we wanted to go down. Donation was the easiest decision I made the whole day because of what we had discussed fully as a family.”

The Scottish Government is currently working on a package of measures to further increase the number of potential donors. This includes legislation introduced to the Scottish Parliament to move to a soft opt-out system for organ and tissue donation. A public consultation in 2017 showed 82% of respondents supported this move.

Meanwhile, regardless of legislation, it remains vital to think about organ donation, decide what you would want and communicate this to your loved ones so they have the confidence of knowing they are fulfilling your wishes.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register today visit: www.organdonationscotland.org/