Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Government 'to miss donor target'

A charity has warned the Government it is likely to miss a target to boost organ donor rates

The head of a campaigning health charity has launched a stinging attack on the Government, saying it will miss a target to boost organ donor rates by 50%.

Tim Statham, chief executive of the National Kidney Federation, said too many people were dying because of poor strategy around boosting donor rates from people when they die.

The Organ Donor Taskforce, set up under Labour, was disbanded when the coalition came to power but no new one has been formed to replace it, he said.

And the target set by the taskforce to increase organ donor rates by 50% by 2013 will be missed, he added. The vast majority of people waiting for an organ in the UK are kidney patients.

"The Department of Health tells us they believe the target will be met but we are absolutely certain in our minds that it will not be," Mr Statham said. "We have spoken to people in the Department of Health and to Chris Rudge (who was tasked with boosting donation rates) and they agree it will not be met ... We are certain it is going to be missed."

Mr Statham said work urgently needed to be carried out to identify the problems around donation, adding there was a "huge amount of spin" from politicians.

"The message from a politician or NHS Blood and Transplant is that we must get more people to sign the organ donor register. Of course we want people to sign the register but the plain truth is that we have 18 million people in this country signed up to the register already.

"Every day, 400 of those die but do you know how many of those are being used as donors? Two."

The National Kidney Federation is in favour of a national system of presumed consent. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is known to be opposed to such an idea in England. It is being considered in Wales for implementation by 2015.

There are currently almost 7,000 kidney patients on the organ donor waiting list, out of a total list of about 8,000. In 2010/11, there were 1,502 kidney donations from dead donors and 1,020 from living donors.

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