25/07/2001

Minister promotes new measures for organ donation

Health Minister Bairbre de Brún has revealed new measures aimed at encouraging greater awareness in Northern Ireland surrounding the issue of organ donation.

Speaking at a reception on Wednesday 25 July, for athletes about to compete in the Transplant Games, the Minister stressed the need for more organs for transplant patients, and appealed to all those not yet on the donor register to consider doing so.

Ms de Brún also said that it was ‘crucially important’ that people already on the organ donor register list apprise their relatives of their decision, following the revelation that preliminary results of a survey into deaths in intensive care units showed that 50 per cent of relatives are refusing to give consent to organ donation.

The Transplant Games, which is being held in Leeds from 26-29 July, will see people of all ages who have undergone a life-saving transplant operation competing in various sporting events. The event forms the highlight of Transplant Awareness Week, with the aim of creating greater public awareness about organ donation.

In addition, Ms de Brun has also announced that the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety will continue to reimburse hospitals at the rate of £1,000 per donor for the costs of maintaining organ donors in intensive care, despite the decision by the English Department for Health to withdraw from participation in any hospital reimbursement scheme.

With figures showing that organ donation has been on a downward trend for the past five years, the Minister expressed her hopes that specifically earmarking funds earmarked for the costs of maintaining organ donors will help to ensure that all possible organs are made available for transplant purposes.

(CL)

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