Only a third of Wakefield’s population are registered organ donors, despite repeated efforts to encourage more people to sign up.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics suggest that just 33 per cent of people living in the district have agreed to their organs being used for transplants after they die.
Surveys show that while the vast majority of people support organ donation, far fewer ever talk to their families about it.
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The Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, says that this results in many willing donors not being used for transplants because their loved ones don’t know their wishes.
Dr Helen Buglass, clinical lead for organ donation at the trust, said: “Many people believe that all you need to do to show you want to be a donor is to join
the NHS Organ Donor Register or carry a donor card.
“However, if you die in circumstances where you could become an organ donor your family would be approached by specialist nurses and asked to support your decision to donate.
“This is why it is important to talk about your decision with your family and loved ones, stimulating conversation and debate within their families about organ donation so they know your wishes.
“If you die without registering to donate your organs, we would need to ask your next of kin to make the decision for you.
“Less than half of families approached about donation agree to donate a relative’s organs if they are unaware of their relative’s decision to be a donor.”
Figures also show that there are 35 people in Wakefield are in need of a vital organ, as of May 2018.
While most places outside London have a shorter transplant waiting list than that, Leeds, Kirklees, Sheffield, Doncaster and Manchester all have more people who need an organ.