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Organs: Donors

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps the Government are taking to increase the number of people on the organ donor register; (154268)

(2) how many people were on the organ donor register in each of the last 10 years;

(3) what proportion of families refused consent to donate relatives’ organs in the case of (a) all deaths, (b) deaths where the individual was on the organ donor register and (c) deaths where the individual was not on the organ donor register in the latest period for which figures are available.

The number on the organ donor register in each of the last 10 years is shown in the following table.

Million

Added in year

Total at end

1994

0.14

0.14

1995

2.21

2.35

1996

1.39

3.74

1997

0.92

4.66

1998

0.87

5.53

1999

1.51

7.04

2000

1.23

8.27

2001

0.74

9.01

2002

1.08

10.09

2003

0.87

10.96

2004

0.96

11.92

2005

1.01

12.93

2006

1.04

13.97

Information on family refusal is only collected in the case of deceased potential heartbeating donors for whom solid organ donation was considered and whose family were approached for consent to donation.

In these cases, the overall refusal rate was 39.9 per cent. In cases whereby the potential donor was known to be on the organ donor register, the family refusal rate was 6.5 per cent. In cases where it was known that the potential donor was not on the organ donor register, the family refusal rate was 36.6 per cent.

The Department launched “Saving Lives, Valuing Donors: A Transplant Framework for England” in 2003 and the National Service Framework for Renal Services in 2004. These set out the Department’s key aims for organ and tissue transplantation over the following 10 years. Government investment in hospital-based funding has helped increase donor rates and an organ donor taskforce will report to Ministers in autumn 2007 on how organ donor rates can be further improved. Following the publication of the chief medical officer’s annual report in July, the taskforce will also examine the potential impact on organ donation of introducing an ‘opt out’ or presumed consent scheme.