Most people in Yorkshire believe in a new organ donor system.
Three quarters (75%) of people in the county are in favour of an ‘opt-out’ organ donation system - where people are registered as a donor, unless they state otherwise - rather than the current ‘opt-in’ law, according to new figures from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
In a poll of over 2,000 people the heart research charity found that, out of those in the Yorkshire area who would not support a change in the law, almost two fifths (38%) were put off by concerns that they would not be able to opt out, or that it would be difficult to do so. The charity says this highlights a lack of public awareness and confusion about the proposed new system which would allow any person opposed to donating their organs to opt out.
This Friday, MPs have the opportunity to make history by voting in favour of a new Bill that will introduce an ‘opt-out’ system in England, potentially saving thousands of lives. People in Yorkshire are being urged to write to their local MP, to encourage them to attend the debate.
The BHF say the figures also indicate a lack of awareness around the urgency of organ donation, with six in 10 people in Yorkshire and Humber (59%) underestimating the number of people on the organ transplant list in the UK (which last year peaked at 6,388)1 and three in 10 (30%) underestimating the number of people who died last year whilst on the waiting list for an organ (a total of 457 people).
The figures also revealed that 43% of people are not aware of their families wishes when it comes to organ donation, with almost half (49%) saying they simply hadn’t thought about having this conversation and almost a third (30%) saying it was too awkward or sad to bring up.
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “There is a desperate shortage of organs in the UK and introducing an opt-out system in England will better reflect the views of the general public and give hope to those currently waiting for a transplant they so desperately need.
“We are urging everyone in Yorkshire to encourage their local MP to attend parliament this Friday to debate a Bill that could save lives.”