'Help save a life this Christmas by telling your family your wishes', transplant chiefs plead
People in West Norfolk are being urged to help save a life this Christmas by making sure their families know their wishes on organ donation.
More than 30 people in the county are currently estimated to be waiting for a transplant, according to latest figures.
And Anthony Clarkson, director of organ and tissue donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said the "greatest gift" for them would be a call to confirm a donor had been found for them.
He said: “Please let your family know your organ donation decision and leave them certain of your decision.”
Nationally, one person dies while waiting for a transplant every day and, as of October, 33 people in Norfolk were waiting for a transplant.
However, the service says that, during 2020-21, 54 people have had transplant operations in the county alone.
Mr Clarkson said: “The only reason that they are able to enjoy a happy and healthy Christmas is thanks to the generosity of a donor and their family who so selflessly chose to give the gift of life.
“However, there are still thousands of people who are still desperately hoping and waiting for the transplant that will transform their life.
“Please take a moment this Christmas to let your family know your organ donation decision.
“Those conversations could help save the lives of people currently spending their Christmas waiting for a transplant.”
Although the law on organ donation has changed to an opt out system, officials say many are not aware that families will still always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead.
Only 42 per cent of the UK population have registered their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and just 37 per cent say that they have shared their organ donation decision with their family.
For more information, or to register your organ donation decision, click here or call 0300 1232323. NHS app users can also use the service to record, check or update their organ donation decision.