Heart transplant waiting list up by 24% this Christmas - NHS Blood and Transplant
The number of people spending Christmas on the heart transplant waiting list is 24% higher than it was last Christmas, says NHS Blood and Transplant.
There are currently 298 people on the waiting list for a heart transplant compared to 240 people at the same time last year. This includes 33 children who will spend the Christmas period seriously ill and waiting for a call that may never come.
NHS Blood and Transplant is urging people to tell their families they wish to donate to help with the deadly shortage of organs.
For most patients on the heart transplant waiting list, all other medical options have been exhausted, and a donated organ is their only hope. Since last Christmas Day, 31 people have died while on the waiting list for a heart transplant.
Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation said “Hundreds of people are spending Christmas waiting for a call that might never come. Their families will be spending the festive period living with fear and uncertainty.
“We desperately need more people to agree to donation to help with the number of people waiting for hearts and organs of every kind" she added.
“Whatever the outcome of the Opt Out consultation, if you support organ donation, please act today. Tell your family you want to donate and join the NHS Organ Donor Register.”
Consultant Cardiothoracic surgeon, and Chairman of the NHS Blood and Transplant Cardiothoracic Advisory Group Steven Tsui warned that many people who could donate do not discuss their wishes with families and friends, and in many cases their organs go to waste.
He added: "Heart transplant is the most amazing treatment for patients with advanced heart failure.
"The transformation is quite miraculous. On average, a heart transplant recipient can expect to live for another 14 years; the lucky ones could even get 25 or 30 extra years."
The Department of Health recently launched a consultation into an ‘opt out’ system of organ donation for England. Under the proposed system, you would be a donor unless you don’t want to donate.
Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price said that organ donation was a 'selfless gift' which could transform someone's life.
"This Government is committed to transforming the way organ donation works but if we are to save lives, it is also vital that everyone talks to their loved ones about their wishes."
For more information on organ donation and to join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk