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Opinions please - Carers UK Forum

Opinions please

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This is something that is close to my heart.A family donating the liver of their wife/mother meant that we had another 10 years with my mam.We had a co ordinator who let both families correspond with each other.Writing the letter to them,trying to thank them for the gift of their loved ones liver was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.To know that whilst we were celebrating mam being with us, that at the other end of the country was a family grieving.

We have some in our family who disagree with the opt out choice rather than opt in.

Do any of you here have an opinion on this??

Department of Health (National)

http://www.gnn.gov.uk/environment/fullD ... ment=False

Fifty per cent increase in organ donation possible within five years

The Government today announced it would back the recommendations of the Organ Donation Taskforce, which could see a 50 per cent increase in organ donation in the UK within five years - resulting in an additional 1,200 transplants a year and saving thousands of lives.

The Taskforce, set up to examine how organ donation and transplant rates can be improved, today published its report 'Organs for Transplants'.

The report proposes a radical shift from existing arrangements, recommending the recruitment of around 100 extra donor transplant coordinators to work with hospitals and guide and support bereaved families through the donation process. These extra front line staff and existing coordinators would, after consultation with the relevant parties, be employed centrally by NHS Blood and Transplant rather than individual Trusts, which would mean an end to varied employment, and training practices across the country. Together with other measures to improve donor coordination services this could result in a 10% increase in the consent rate for donation.

In addition, a new strengthened network of dedicated organ retrieval teams would also be established and be available 24 hours a day, working closely with the critical care teams in hospital to retrieve safe high quality organs for transplant across the UK.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said:

"Donating an organ is the greatest gift anyone can bestow. Last year around 2,400 people in the UK benefited from an organ transplant, but more than 1000 people die every year waiting for a transplant. I am determined that we do all we can to increase levels of donation and make a difference to as many patients as possible.

"These recommendations are essential to improve the systems supporting organ donation. The taskforce will now go on to consider the important issue of presumed consent and the role that it could play in increasing organ donation."

Health Minister Ann Keen said:
"The Taskforce tell us that, if the recommendations in today's report are implemented, there is the potential to increase the number of organ transplants by an additional 1,200 a year.

"If we are able to save these lives we must take action now across the UK. I am pleased that the recommendations have the backing of the Health Ministers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and that we will work together to support families and donors to implement them"

The report has fourteen recommendations in total which include encouraging the NHS to make organ donation a usual rather than unusual event by developing local organ donation policies with identified clinical donor leads or donation committees. Different ways of recognising the very special gift made by individual organ donors and their families will also be considered.

Elisabeth Buggins, the chair of the Organ Donation taskforce said:

"90% of the UK population supports organ donation and transplantation in principle, but too many people are dying because donation too often, is not made possible in practice.

"The UK has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in Europe and it was in recognition of this that the taskforce was created.

"This work has been amongst the most rewarding of my professional life. I am grateful to fellow Taskforce members for the dedication and commitment they have shown as well as the international advisers who helped us to develop our recommendations.

"Our recommendations are not only the right thing to do; they also make sound economic sense. They have the potential to save many more lives as well as making best use of NHS funding by reducing dialysis costs for people with kidney failure
"I am delighted that the Government has accepted all of the recommendations. While these will be challenging to deliver, the rewards are significant.

"This is a great opportunity to save more lives every year - I hope the NHS and the general public will seize it with both hands."

The Government confirmed £11 million of funding to support the recommendations in the report next year with more to follow. Improving organ donation not only saves lives but also saves valuable resources. The average cost for dialysis is approximately £25,300 pa compared with an initial cost of £45,900 for a transplant followed by annual maintenance costs of £7,100 pa. Over the next 10 years we expect that there could be about an extra 5,400 kidney transplants. This could give NHS savings of over £500 million.

There's no easy answer to this one - for myself, I would prefer the "opt out" method, but then I have carried a donor card since I was 18, so it has always been a part of my adult life.

Although I'm glad to say that it hasn't been used yet!
An extremely interesting question, I agree with charles on this one like you Charles I have also carried a card for many years, regarding your problem Rosemary with writing the letter I think in my personal opinion unless the donor specifically requested it, it should remain totally confidential i.e. the person who had donated the organ whatever it may be. Of course I assume this is what happens now no attempt should be made to contact anyone.
I deliberately left the letter issue to one side earlier but I'll just make a small comment.

It is a deeply personal issue, and there is no right answer. However, the fact is that while someone is grieving it may help them to know that their loved one's death was not in vain but has actively helped to enrich or extend (or both) the life of someone else who is also a loved one. Some would resent it, but I would like to think that others - possibly the majority - would understand the importance of that final gift and gain comfort from it.
Thanks for your comments fellas.

Everything was confidential Gordon, and the co ordinator who sees you through the whole process is brilliant.Its always about personal choice and wishes.Some families I know donate and dont wish to have any more part in it whereas others like Charles said want to know that their gift because thats what it truly is,a gift of life,has benefited another family.

I guess once again like with everything else,it comes down to personal choice.