Patients in desperate need of a new organ missed out on 460 potential transplants last year because families, unsure of their relatives’ wishes, declined to donate, new figures show.

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Fanilies urged to talk about organ donations

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) said that across the UK, three families a week were saying no to organ donation because they did not know whether their relatives would have wanted to donate an organ or not.

It said that when families are left to make such a decision on their loved one’s behalf, some decide it is safer to say no.

The organisation has encouraged people to talk to family members during Organ Donation Week, September 4-10.

The reluctance to talk about the issue is contributing to a deadly shortage of organs, NHSBT said.

New figures show 197 people in West Yorkshire have died while on the waiting list for an organ transplant over the past 10 years.

A total of 67 people from Leeds and 25 from Wakefield have died while waiting for a transplant in the last decade.

NHS Blood and Transplant say hundreds of life saving transplants are being missed every year because families don’t know what their relative wanted.

In West Yorkshire, there are currently 221 people waiting for a transplant. That figure includes 54 people from Leeds and 30 from Wakefield.

Last year in Yorkshire 246 families were asked about their loved ones donation wishes and 153 of them consented to organ donation after death.

A total of 115 people in Yorkshire donated more than 300 organs after death in 2016/17 so others might receive a life-changing transplant.

Nationally 457 people died last year while on the active transplant waiting list and a further 875 people were removed from the list, mainly due to ill health - many will have died shortly after being removed from that list.

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation for NHSBT, said: “It’s a tragedy, hundreds of people are dying unnecessarily every year waiting for transplants.

“We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.

“This Organ Donation Week tell your family you want to save lives. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference. It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.

“If you want to save lives, don’t leave it too late to talk to your family. If you want to be a donor, your family’s support is still needed for donation to go ahead, even if you are on the NHS Organ Donor Register.”