More donors needed to ease transplant waiting list

It has been revealed that there is a shortage of kidney donors in Northern Ireland – with only 100 organs being donated in the past three years.

The Northern Ireland Kidney Replacement Centre, based at the Belfast City Hospital, say that there are around 200 people waiting for kidneys, but the number of donors has seen an alarming drop of around 40% in recent years.

Belfast City Hospital's Transplant Coordinator, Eleanor Donaghy, said: "People don't realise that you have to die in specific circumstances in order to become an organ donor – you have to be in an intensive care unit on a life-support machine.

"Our message is to get people to talk about organ donation, to decide if it something they would want to do and to let their families know.

The dearth of organ donors is not exclusive to Northern Ireland, and as of May 31 this year there were 4,923 patients people in the UK waiting for a transplant – but only about 2,700 transplants are carried out each year.

Last year, almost 400 people died while waiting for a kidney, heart, liver or lung to be donated, however many more people will lose their lives before they even get on to the waiting list.

Currently there are over 9.2 million people on the NHS Organ Donor Register – or around 16% of the population.

The Westminster Secretary of State for Health Alan Milburn has set a target of upping that to 16 million registered donors by 2010.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

30 July 2003
Mayor calls for more Derry donors
The Mayor of Derry has called on more local people to get involved in National Transplant week by joining the organ donor register.
02 March 2006
Inpatient waiting lists reach ten-year low
Waiting lists for inpatients and day-patients have reached their lowest in ten years, Health Minister Shaun Woodward revealed today. The number of people waiting over a year for appointments has almost dropped by 50% over the past quarter.
04 December 2003
Hospital inpatient waiting lists continue to fall
Hospital inpatient waiting lists are now at their lowest since March 2001 and have fallen by 10% over the past twelve months, it was revealed today.
02 June 2005
Minister welcomes latest reductions in waiting lists
Health Minister, Shaun Woodward, has welcomed the latest figures showing a further reduction in hospital waiting times but said they were still far too long.
21 July 2011
Donors Sought As Transplant Games Loom
Belfast's first citizen today urged the people of the city to 'give the gift of life' and become organ donors.