THE number of people registered as living kidney donors has hit a nine-year low.
Figures from NHS Blood and Transplant revealed that in Hampshire last year there were only 24 living kidney donors.
We are investigating the causes and working closely with the clinical community, NHS England and health departments to reverse the trendLisa Burnapp
This is a drop of 13 compared to 2013, when there were 37.
Currently there are 126 people waiting for a kidney in the county, and 48 people in the area have died in the past five years while on the transplant waiting list.
Nationally, there were 990 living kidney donors in 2017, the lowest figure since 2009.
The worrying decline has prompted calls from NHS Blood and Transplant for people to consider signing the register.
Living kidney donations account for more than 40 per cent of all donors and a third of all kidney transplants for people waiting.
Lisa Burnapp, lead nurse for kidney donation, said: ‘Living donation has been a major success story for the UK, with one in three patients receiving a kidney transplant from a living donor, so the decline in Hampshire and around the UK is worrying.
‘We are investigating the causes and working closely with the clinical community, NHS England and health departments to reverse the trend.’
Most living donations are between family and friends. But people can also choose to donate altruistically, when their kidney is matched anonymously to a suitable person on the waiting list.
Lisa added: ‘Anonymous altruistic donations are especially important because they can start transplant chains.
‘It’s no coincidence that the high figures for 2013 came when altruistic donation was at its highest ever level.’
People who have given their kidney are backing the calls for more donors.
Margaret Moylan and Sue Dadwell, both from Emsworth, have donated kidneys – Margaret to her sister and Sue to a stranger.
Margaret, 61, said: ‘I donated in 2013. My sister had kidney failure for about six years and her kidney function was going down.
‘We’re very similar and we’re very close. We have the same blood group so it wasn’t a difficult decision.’
Margaret said the whole experience was brilliant and both her and her sister are fit and healthy.
Unlike Margaret, Sue donated an organ to someone she has never met, after watching 82-year-old Nicholas Crace on television, who had done exactly that.
She added: ‘He was amazing and it totally inspired me, it made me realise it was something I could do.
‘I’ve been very lucky in my life health-wise and I realised I could give something back.’
Margaret and Sue were put in touch with each other through a mutual friend and are now part of a small group of people who have donated organs who meet up called the Squeezed Oranges.
n Visit organdonation.nhs.uk