MONMOUTH MP David Davies has joined heart charity Children’s Heart Federation in its call to raise awareness of the need for more heart donors for children.
Opinion polls in the UK reveal the vast majority of the population is in favour of organ donation, yet evidence shows low levels of awareness about transplantation issues.
There are 6,893 people on the transplant waiting list across the UK. According to statistics released by NHS Blood and Transplant, 214 people were waiting for an organ transplant in Wales as of 30th June 2014 – eight of which were heart transplants.
From 1st December 2015, Wales will become the first UK home nation to introduce a policy where people are presumed to have consented to become organ donors unless they opt out. The Welsh Government hopes to raise transplant rates by 25 per cent.
Currently, people across the UK join a voluntary scheme and carry a card if they wish to donate organs after death.
The need for heart donors is being highlighted by the Children’s Heart Federation. While the consent rate for organ donation remains static, the number of children with congenital heart conditions is growing each year due to tremendous developments in surgical treatment and care. However, many of these children will require a heart transplant in the future.
Mr Davies has pledged to work with the Children’s Heart Federation to raise awareness of the increased need for heart donors across the UK. He is also urging residents in Monmouthshire to discuss their wishes about organ donation with their loved ones before the new Welsh system of presumed consent comes into force next year.
“I’m supporting the Children’s Heart Federation in their call for all political parties, including my own, to commit to raising awareness of the need for heart donors for children,” said Mr Davies.
“We’ve come a long way with medical advancements for children over the years and we now need to look to their future.
“It is therefore vitally important that we all have a conservation with our families about organ donation and make our wishes known.”
Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of Children’s Heart Federation, added:
“Being told that your child needs a heart transplant is devastating.
“The Children’s Heart Federation wants to give children the best chance of life. The charity is committed to working closely with government, industry and stakeholders to raise awareness of the need for an increase in the consent rate for heart donors.”