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Praise for Grampian Organ Donation Team

Public Health Minister visits Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt has visited Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where she met members of the clinical team who have helped to deliver a 400 per cent increase in deceased organ donors in NHS Grampian over the last four years.

In 2014/15 there were 15 deceased organ donors in Grampian, compared to 3 in 2010/11. Thanks to the generosity of these donors and their families, the lives of many people on the transplant waiting list have been saved or enhanced.

Grampian now has a donor rate per million of population of 26.2, compared to 5.4 pmp in 2011/12. As of 31 March this year, 43 per cent of the population in Grampian were on the NHS Organ Donor Register – 10 per cent higher than the UK average.

Ms Watt said:

“We are making significant progress on organ donation. Since we started our plan of improvement in 2008 we have seen an 82 per cent increase in deceased donor numbers; a 42 per cent increase in the number of transplants undertaken and the active transplant waiting list has reduced by over twenty per cent.

“I am particularly pleased to see such an improvement here in Grampian. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the many NHS staff across NHS Grampian who have worked tirelessly to make this possible

“I am very aware that organ donation can only occur as a result of tragic circumstances and it is important that we pay tribute to the organ donors and to their families who made the decision to help others.

“We will now look to see what lessons can be learned from Grampian and see if this can be replicated in other hospitals in Scotland.

“It is more important than ever to talk about your wishes with your loved ones. We know that families are much more likely to agree to donation going ahead if they know it is what the deceased person wanted.”

Dr Iain Macleod, Head of Service, Intensive Care Medicine and Clinical Lead for Organ Donation said:

“I am delighted to welcome the Minister to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. We have worked hard to support more families as they make the choice to donate their loved ones’ organs. I would encourage anyone who wants to help people to live after their death to sign the NHS organ donor register and to ensure their relatives are aware of their wishes.”

Case study: Elaine Baxter

Elaine Baxter received a life-saving liver transplant in November 2013 – three weeks after the 53-year-old from Aberdeen suddenly fell ill.

Tests revealed Elaine’s liver function was dangerously low and she was immediately transferred to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where she was listed for transplant.

Elaine’s family were told that if she didn’t receive a transplant in the next 72 hours, she may not survive. Thankfully, a suitable donor organ became available only days later, and the transplant went ahead.

Two weeks after her surgery Elaine was back home and in April 2014 she was able to return to work.

Elaine said: "It wasn’t until the week after my transplant that I actually realised what had happened. My memory is really hazy of that time in between due to all the medication I was on and what my body had been through. As soon as the doctor told me that I'd had a liver transplant and I actually took it in, the shock really hit me. Since my transplant, my general health is so much better and I have a lot more energy.

"I look at life in a completely different way now. My priorities have totally changed. I used to get really stressed about work, but now I just think to myself, there are more important things in life. My outlook has completely shifted. I'm so grateful to my donor and their family for this gift of life I've been given.”

Elaine is urging all Scots to discuss their organ donation wishes with their family.

She said: “Although it might not be the easiest thing to talk about, it really is important that you do, so your family know what you would have wanted should they ever find themselves in that awful situation.

"When you're gone, you can't take your organs with you. Why wouldn't you give someone else the chance to improve their life, or in some cases, the chance to continue living at all. It's the greatest gift you could ever give someone.

“If your family knows what your organ donation wishes were, it makes it that bit easier for them to honour those wishes."

Notes To Editors

Join the NHS Organ Donor Register by visiting www.organdonationscotland.org.

For more information on organ donation and joining the register, people can call 0300 123 2323.

The Organ Donation Scotland twitter is @scotorgandonor and Facebook page ishttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Organ-Donation-Scotland

The latest Transplant Activity Report from NHSBT can be found here: http://www.odt.nhs.uk/uk-transplant-registry/annual-activity-report/

 

Channel website: http://www.gov.scot/

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