Health Minister Edwin Poots has called for the public to sign the organ donation register and to discuss their decision with their friends and family.
The Minister was speaking as he opened the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust’s workshop on organ donation and transplantation. Addressing delegates at the MAC Centre in Belfast, Mr Poots said: “In February 2013 I announced that I would be progressing work to establish attitudes towards organ donation, including an opt-out system for organ donation. This work was taken forward by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the initial work on establishing attitudes towards organ donation has just been completed. The report on public attitudes and stakeholder engagement in Northern Ireland was launched on 16 October 2013.
“I am giving careful consideration to the findings in this important report and the implications for the future development of my Department’s policy on organ donation. These are important matters and we therefore need to take time to digest the report to ensure that our future policy is the right policy for the people of Northern Ireland.”
The event was an interactive half-day workshop designed to promote debate and to encourage clinical staff within the Belfast HSC Trust to facilitate organ donation within the Trust.
The Minister continued: “There are currently just under 200 people waiting for an organ transplant in Northern Ireland and for each of these people the donation of an organ can be a life changing or life saving experience.
“It is for these people, many of whom may be friends, relatives, colleagues or patients of those gathered here today, that I once again call on everyone who has not yet signed up to the organ donor register to please do so today, and that having done so they should discuss their wishes with their family members and friends.”
Patricia Donnelly, director of acute services in the Belfast trust and chair of the organ donation committee said: "We are proud of the improvements we have made and this is testimony to the generosity of families. We know we have more to do and we are committed to making further improvements."
For more information on how to become an organ donor, log on to: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/register-to-become-an-organ-donor.htm