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Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Misconceptions remain about organ donation

The new NHS Blood and Transplant website survey points to a growing culture of support for organ donation, but it also shows how much work is STILL needed in reassuring donors about the whole transplantation process.

In our evidence to the Welsh Assembly Government committee set up to consider presumed consent, particular emphasis was placed on the need to ensure that comprehensive information is made available to everyone about the process of organ donation.

It is obviously something we all would wish to put to the back of our minds, but what a wonderful gesture and enduring life-saving gift each one of us could potentially make after our death - if the unthinkable were to happen. You only have to read the testaments of those people fortunate to have received a life saving donation to appreciate this.

The NHS and the heath professionals who work in it strive to keep the interests of the individual patient at the forefront at all times. It is only after everything possible that could be done, has been done, that the potential for transplantation becomes an issue, and ONLY in line with the wishes of the patient and their family. It is at this time that the expert services of transplant teams come to the fore.

And I cannot better the comments of Dr. Paul Murphy in summing up the ethos of their work. I would have the complete confidence of doctors and other health professionals working in this area. Far more needs to be done to communicate the processes and safeguards that exist and reassure everyone who is considering joining the donor register that any fears they may have, are unfounded.

It is for this reason I am on the donor register myself and why the BMA and a majority of the public feel able to support a move to presumed consent.

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