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Talk about your wishes

People in Norfolk and Waveney are being urged to help save lives by talking to their families about organ donation in the run up to a national awareness week.

The area’s five clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have issued the rally cry ahead of organ donation week, which runs from 3 to 9 September. It comes as part of a national campaign called “Words Save Lives”, which is asking people to talk to their families about organ donation so that they are aware of their wishes, in turn increasing the number of people whose lives can be saved or transformed by a transplant.

Nationally, three people die every day while waiting for an organ, while there are currently around 55 patients in Norfolk and Waveney who are on the transplant waiting list. Nearly 425,000 people in the area are already on the NHS organ donor register – but are now being urged to make sure their family is aware that they want to donate.

Families will always be approached about donation, and knowing what their loved one wanted can help support their decision at a difficult time.

Dr Liam Stevens, a GP and chair of NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, said: “We want more people in Norfolk and Waveney to talk about organ donation so that their loved ones are aware of their wishes. That way, we can increase the number of lifesaving transplants which take place every year.

“Only one third of adults in England have told their partner or their family they want to donate, despite eight out of 10 people telling us they would be willing to donate or would consider it.

“Sadly, many opportunities are lost every year because families don’t know if their loved one wanted to be a donor or not. We can change things, though we need your support to get people talking.”

Anthony Clarkson, interim director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are very grateful to the CCGs in Norfolk and Waveney for their support during organ donation week.

“Words save lives. Please, tell your family you want to save lives through organ donation, because it could be the difference between life and death for someone else.”

To join the organ donor register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk

About the author

Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG