Join donor register and you could save lives

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The figures are stark. Three people in Portsmouth and 17 people in Hampshire have died in the past 18 months while waiting for a transplant.

This happened because the number of people on the organ donor register is simply not high enough to meet demand.

Again, the statistics tell the story.

In the city there are 58,246 people signed up, which is only 29 per cent of the population.

In the county, 539,517 people are on the register – about 30 per cent of the population.

More donors are desperately needed and we certainly back calls for people to join the donor register, thereby increasing the chances of matches being found for those desperately hoping for transplants.

It doesn’t take long – and one donor could help save as many as 50 people. But only if you’re on that register.

We don’t believe people are not joining up because they have some strong objection – although we do think the system of voluntarily opting in is preferable to mandatory inclusion unless you opt out because it retains that important element of personal freedom.

Maybe there are many people out there who think the organ donor register is a good idea, but have just never got around to doing anything about it.

Well, now is your chance to help people like 21-year-old Satwinder Kaur, who had a kidney transplant at the Queen Alexandra hospital earlier this year.

As she says: ‘I know what it’s like when you’re waiting for an organ. Just imagine having to wait for something that your life is depending on.’

As well as the story on organ donation, we also carry a letter today from Councillor Peter Edgar, health spokesman on Gosport Borough Council and a member of the council of governors at the QA.

He tells how impressed he was when he recently visited the hospital’s renal unit, which now serves 594 dialysis patients.

But how many of those patients could be given a new lease of life with a transplant if more people joined the donor register?