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Organ Donation – Have you thought about it?

Dr Michelle Fallon

This Organ Donation Week (26 September – 2 October 2022) the Western Trust is focussed on encouraging people to have a conversation with those closest to them about organ donation. If you want to be an organ donor, pass on the message to you family. Many people don’t realise that their family’s support is needed for organ donation to go ahead.

Most people would accept an organ if they needed one. That’s not surprising really and to help others some 52% of the adult population in Northern Ireland have signed the NHS Organ Donor Register. Together, let’s increase this number.

There is a real shortage of organ donations and there are around 144 people in Northern Ireland and approximately 6,000 people in the United Kingdom are waiting for life-saving transplants. Tragically, every year approximately 10-15 people in Northern Ireland die whilst waiting for an organ transplant.

Most of us are familiar with the need for kidney transplants but heart, liver, lung, pancreas and small bowel transplants are also regularly performed. Furthermore, tissue such as corneas and heart valves can be donated and transplanted.

Dr Michelle Fallon Lead Clinician for Organ Donation at the Western Trust said: “Organ Donation really is the gift of life and we are encouraging everyone to join the Organ Donor Register and tell their loved ones that they wish to be a donor.

“Becoming an organ donor is your decision but it does affect your family. Many people do not realise that their family’s support is necessary for organ donation to proceed. After your death your family will be consulted and any decision they make on your behalf will be respected. Only half of families agree to donation if they don’t know their loved one’s decision, but this rises to 9 out of 10 if they know their loved one wanted to donate

Therefore, when families know your decision it makes the situation less stressful for them, the decision to donate less difficult and gives them the confidence to fulfil your wish to be an organ donor.

“Talking about organ donation with your family does not need to be difficult. Explain how you arrived at your decision and what prompted you to sign the Organ Donor Register. Explain that each organ donor can save or transform up to nine lives and that you want to do so. This conversation may in turn encourage others in your family to sign the register as well.

“The more people who pledge to donate their organs and tissues after their death, the more people stand to benefit. From April 2021 to 31 March 2022 there were nine proceeding organ donors in the Western Trust area resulting in 24 patients receiving a life-saving or life-changing transplant.”

Dr Fallon continued:

“The Western Trust continues to promote organ donation in partnership with civic partners, our District Councils, Colleges, Universities and Businesses. While the number of people who have registered as potential donors is very encouraging, there is still a lot of work to do to ensure as many people as possible join the Organ Donor Register and tell their loved ones about their wishes.”

“SIGN UP TODAY – We can save many lives and together we shall do so.”

There are many ways to register as a potential donor:

  • Register online at
  • Register when applying for or renewing a driving licence.
  • Register when registering with a G.P Practice.
  • Telephone the N.H.S. Donor Line 0300 123 23 23. Telephone lines are open 24 hours a day all year round.
  • Download a form from, print it and return it by Freepost
  • Register when applying for a Boot’s Advantage Card.