The Minister for Health Simon Harris TD today launched Organ Donor Awareness Week and thanked the Irish Kidney Association for their incredible work over many years to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.
Minister Harris said, “The reality of organ donation and transplantation is that a very limited number of people die in circumstances where organ donation is a possibility. I would, therefore, ask on this Organ Donor Awareness Week that everyone would not only consider becoming an organ donor but, more importantly, would share this intention with their loved ones. The Minister pointed out that “in this way the chances that your organs might be utilised after your death are increased, and people can also ensure that those left behind will have the satisfaction of knowing that the wishes of their loved one were carried through”.
The Minister highlighted the 2016 organ transplant figures which saw 280 transplants carried out, the second highest annual performance achieved to date.
The organ transplant figures for 2016 were:
• A total of 172 kidney transplants were carried out at the National Renal Transplant Service, Beaumont Hospital;
• 58 liver transplants were performed at the National Liver Transplant Service, St Vincent’s University Hospital;
• 35 lung transplants and 15 heart transplants were performed at the National Heart and Lung Transplant Service at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.
Locally in Sligo Univsity Hospital three transplants were performed and two were completed in Cavan General Hospital.
Minister Harris said, “The Living Kidney Donor Programme continues to go from strength to strength. The excellent performance of the National Renal Transplant Service in Beaumont Hospital saw a remarkable increase in living donor transplants from 33 in 2015 to 50 last year. I want to thank all those living donors for their huge generosity in giving the opportunity for life-changing transplantation to their loved ones”.
The Minister added; “I have prioritised the development of legislation to provide for an opt-out system of consent for organ donation and my Department is currently working on this in the context of work required to develop an over-arching human tissue policy and legislative framework. I intend to bring a memo to Government shortly setting out this policy direction and my intention to launch a public consultation on the development of the proposals before the end of the summer.”
He concluded, “I reiterate my commitment to work to increase organ donation and transplantation rates to the benefit of patients and their families. I wish the Irish Kidney Association every success with Organ Donor Awareness Week. I know it will raise awareness nationally and ultimately result in more people getting the all-important call that an organ match has been found for them”.