In The News

Join the donor register and help save lives

Join the donor register and help save lives

MORE people in Northern Ireland are being encouraged to join the organ donor register.

Figures released by local health officials show that just 31% of the population have already registered despite a public attitudes survey finding that 84% support the concept. 

It’s hoped the recent Speak up and Save a Life campaign, which was was carried out by the Public Health Agency (P.H.A.), will help encourage more potential donors to come forward. 

The survey, which was carried out by the P.H.A. last year, also found that a majority of people would take an organ if they needed one.

Around 200 people are currently on the transplant waiting list in Northern Ireland but as many as 15 people die each year before an organ can be found to save them.

Dr. Eddie Rooney is chief executive of the P.H.A. and chair of the Northern Ireland Committee for Organ Donation. Speaking at the launch of the recent campaign, he said: “Organ donation really is the gift of life. The generosity of donors and their families enhances or saves the lives of recipients across Northern Ireland.” 

He added: “We want to increase awareness of the organ donor register and how to sign up and we also want to encourage people to talk about organ donation with family and close friends so they are aware of their wishes.”

A new website was set up (see below) to offer a wide range of information.

The fact that so few people have already signed-up to the organ donor register has led some to call for a statutory opt-out to be introduced. This would mean that everyone would be considered as donors unless they asked for their names to be removed from the register. 

Health Minister Edwin Poots did not ruled out going down this route but will re-test public opinion after the latest awareness campaign is concluded. He said recently: “I once again urge everyone to consider signing the organ donation register and having made such a decision to discuss their wishes with their families and loved ones.”

Joining the donor organ register could not be easier. To register online click here or you can download a form to complete you registration by post (click here). If you want to talk to someone about joining then contact the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 23 33. This service is available 24 hours a day.

To visit the Northern Ireland Organ Donation website, click here.

To visit the Northern Ireland Transplant Association’s website, click here.

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