A WEARSIDE MP is calling on her constituents to help save lives by signing up to donate their organs to others when they die.
Bridget Phillipson, who represents Houghton and Sunderland South, was speaking as part of National Transplant Week, which begins today.
There are 14 people in Ms Phillipson’s constituency area who are in need of a lifesaving organ transplant, and the MP wants as many people as possible to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Speaking during a visit to the Echo, Ms Phillipson said: “Since 2008, over 35 people in Houghton and Sunderland South have had their lives saved by an organ transplant, but tragically, three people on the waiting list die every day in the UK because they do not receive a transplant in time.
“Ninety-six per cent of us would take an organ if we needed one, but sadly at the moment, only 30 per cent of people in the constituency have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register, which has replaced the old donor card system.
“As this is below the UK average of 31 per cent, I am calling on everyone in the constituency to help save more lives by joining the register and discussing their wishes with their families. The Government has made good progress in increasing organ donation and transplantation since 2007, and has already achieved a 50 per cent increase in the number of people who become organ donors after their deaths.
“The Government is now in the process of developing their post-2013 strategy—building on the progress made so far and identifying new ways to make sure that as many people as possible in the UK receive the transplant they need.
“But in the meantime, more must be done and more can be done.
“We all need to work together to make sure that this increase continues over the next few years.”
The Echo reported earlier this week that a new law will soon be implemented in Wales, which means people have to opt out of being donors.
The change is set to come in in 2015 after ministers voted in favour of it.
The family of seven-year-old Aaron Vincent, who waited six months for a heart transplant in 2010, and Shotton councillor Robin Todd, who received a donor heart 12 years ago, both welcomed the news.
“We should look carefully at how the new arrangements work in Wales,” added Ms Phillipson.
“Then we can consider whether they are suitable for the rest of the UK.”
To register for organ donation, go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.