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Record number of organ donors in 2011
[Posted: Mon 26/03/2012 by Eimear Vize www.irishhealth.com]
Last year was a record year for organ donation in Ireland despite the fact that the lowest number of road traffic deaths in the State was recorded in the same year, according to the Irish Kidney Association (IKA).
However, the IKA says much more needs to be done to increase our levels of organ donation and transplantation.
Breaking the previous record set in in 1998, there were 93 deceased organ donors in 2011, up 60% on the 2010 figures.
A grand total of 275 organ transplants took place in Ireland last year from both deceased and living donors. The number of transplants from deceased donor organs increased by 64%.
Kidney transplants from deceased donations increased by 68% while liver transplants increased by 60% last year.
The latest donation figures dispel the myth that most organ donors come from road traffic accidents, according to Mark Murphy, Chief Executive of the IKA.
Health Minister James Reilly officially launched the awareness campaign, which is organised by the IKA and supported by the Irish Donor Network.
Mr Murphy said that in order to increase our levels of organ donation and transplantation we need an Irish organ donor registry to allow the public to voluntarily identify themselves on a database, similar to the practice in many countries, including the UK.
This data could be captured electronically and would be easily achieved and affordable with cooperation between government departments, he said.
The IKA says directing more resources to increase donation and transplantation levels will save money straight away.
Mr Murphy asked for the support of the Minister for the placement of a symbol for willing organ donors to be featured on the public services card to be issued later this year.
"I am pleased to report that initial discussions with the Department of Social Protection about this have been very positive."
Mr Murphy also outlined his concern that the EU Commission may stifle recent progress made between the IKA and the Road Safety Authority to introduce a visible organ donor symbol on the new driver's licence which will be in plastic card format with photographs.
An Organ Donor Ecard App for smart phone users was launched last year and over 10,000 people have so far downloaded the App, the IKA said.
To address the growing number of people on transplant waiting lists, as well as the 100% rise in kidney patients being treated by dialysis over a ten-year period, Mr. Murphy called on the Minister to divert more resources to organ donation and transplantation.
"Transplantation is far less costly than dialysis and with a sharp increase from 893 dialysis patients between 2002 to a staggering 1795 by the end of 2011, such investment makes economic sense."
However, Minister Reilly said today he expected Beaumont Hospital to do more transplant work within existing resources.
Welcoming the Minister for Health's impending Irish legislation on organ donation and transplantation, Mr Murphy cautioned that legislation will not increase donor rates.
He said that it will require changes in clinical practice as outlined in the EU Action Plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation, coupled with the implementation of recommendations in the recent International Review of Transplant Services in Ireland, for rates to improve.
He said that the new National Organ Donation and Transplantation Office needs resources to manage the very achievable goal of 30 organ donors per million of population (PMP), a level that some other European countries already enjoy. Ireland currently has only 20 organ donors PMP.
Minister Reilly announced today that he wss providinga grant of €150,000 from National Lottery funds to the Irish Kidney Association to promote its Donor Awareness Service and support the work it does in terms of helping those who are awaiting transplants and encouraging people to be donors.
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