Welwyn Hatfield Times News Item
It is known that 90% of the general public are in favour of organ donation and would take an organ if they needed one, yet only around 30% are signed up and again no matter how much campaigning is done these figures don't change. It is very clear that some changes to our current system need to made and this appears to be a sensible way forward to try and increase the amount of people on the register.
It will be interesting to see how this may change current statistics where three people still die each day waiting for an organ because there's a shortage of organ donors and whether England, Scotland and Ireland will follow.
One of the most important things though - whatever system we have in place - is the discussion that is needed between family members to ensure that everyone knows what each other's views are on organ donation. At the moment organ donations are being restricted because families often override a loved one's decision to donate. This is often because they simply do not know what their loved one's views were on organ donation and organ donation hadn't ever been discussed. It is a harrowing decision to make for any family, but easier if families know what their loved ones wishes are.
Our culture in the UK of not discussing dying, death and illness is a thing that needs to change if the situation is to be improved. I think we have a strange culture sometimes when illness and death affect everyone, yet we all brush it under the carpet as though it doesn't happen. I'm not advocating that we all talk doom and gloom everyday, just that sometimes discussions on these matters need to be had - it should be natural to have some discussion on wills, dying wishes and amongst these organ donation. It is proven that family consent rates to organ donation are higher when the family has had the 'discussion'.
Yesterday I was on BBC Three Counties Radio, following the changes in Wales, discussing my transplant and the difference it has made and the hope that the new changes may bring to those who are waiting.
All in all, there's been much talk on organ donation in the media and with that hopefully more awareness and more discussion amongst families.