Importance of Organ donation Laid Bare in New Campaign

People in Forth Valley are being urged to consider joining the NHS Organ Donor Register as a bold new campaign gets underway to increase registrations in Scotland.

The ‘We Need Everybody’ campaign shows people of all ages, shapes, sizes and ethnicities baring almost all to highlight that anyone can be an organ donor.

The call for more people to join the Register has been issued as latest figures reveal that every day in the UK, someone dies waiting on an organ transplant1.

Latest figures highlight there are 540 people in Scotland waiting on a life-saving transplant2. People in need of a transplant can spend years on the waiting list, enduring debilitating breathlessness, lethargy, and long periods of dialysis and hospitalisation.

Increasing registrations is vital, as less than one per cent of deaths in Scotland happen in circumstances where the person is actually able to donate their organs2.

Currently, 40 per cent of people living in the NHS Forth Valley area3 are on the NHS Organ Donor Register – however the more people that join, the more lives that can be saved.

NHS Forth Valley Organ Donation Lead, Dr Mark Worsley said:

“I am delighted that people have been brave enough to bare all, in a bid to make people sit up and take notice and think about signing up to the Organ Donation Register. It doesn’t matter whether you are fat, thin, young or old.

“In fact age is no barrier to becoming an organ or tissue donor, nor are most medical conditions. People in their 70s and 80s have become organ donors and saved many lives whilst the oldest recorded cornea donor was 104 years old.”

The face of We Need Everybody is Gordon Hutchison, 26, from East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, who underwent a transplant aged just 13 after being born with a congenital heart defect.

Gordon, who stripped off for the TV advert to reveal his transplant scar on screen, delivers the message that organ donation saves lives, as someone who knows first-hand.

Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport said:

“The reality is that there are more people waiting for an organ transplant than there are suitable donors.  Last year in Scotland 35 people died waiting on a vital organ transplant, and for the 540 people currently listed for transplant, the wait goes on.

“There are many reasons people haven’t joined the Register, such as thinking they’re too old, no one would want their organs, or they’ve simply not got round to it.  This campaign is about driving home that everyone has it in them to save a life – like Gordon’s.  Those registrations remain vital in our bid to increase transplant rates in Scotland.

“If you’ve made the decision that you want to donate your organs and haven’t yet joined the Register, I’d urge you to do it now.  It only takes two minutes and could be the most important thing you do today.”

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit weneedeverybody.org

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For further information contact Linda McIntyre at Consolidated PR on 0131 240 6420 or email scotland@consolidatedpr.com

Notes to editors:

  • Images from the advertising campaign are available.
  • 43 per cent of the population in Scotland is on the NHS Organ Donor Register (source: NHS Blood and Transplant)

1 Total number of deaths of those listed for transplant – 480 in 2015/16 (source: NHS Blood and Transplant)

2 Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020 – A detailed strategy (source: NHS Blood and Transplant)

3 Numbers on the NHS Organ Donor Register in Scotland as at 31 March 2016 (source: NHS Blood and Transplant)