The patients waiting years for life-saving transplant

Transplant operation
Transplant operation

DOZENS of Wigan folk have been on the waiting list for a transplant for more than two years - and some may have been on it far longer.

That was the grim news from medical chiefs as they appealed for more local folk to get on the donor register and so increase the chances of saving lives.

In Greater Manchester 354 people are on the UK’s waiting list for a transplant and 104 have been waiting longer than two years.

In fact 31 have been waiting longer than five years, new statistics released by NHS Blood and Transplant reveal.

No accurate Wigan figures are available from either NHS Blood and Transplant or the borough’s and region’s hospitals. But local folk in need of such surgery go to different centres, depending on their particular medical problems. For instance, those needing a kidney transplant go to Manchester Royal Infirmary while the University Hospital of South Manchester carry out heart and lung swaps.

No transplant operations are carried out at Wigan or Leigh Infirmaries.

The numbers waiting in Greater Manchester show only a small part of the UK picture. Of the almost 7,000 patients currently on the list, 30 per cent have been waiting more than two years. More than 500 of them have been waiting longer than five years – that’s over 1,800 days each.

Almost 49,000 people in the UK have endured the wait for an organ transplant in the last 10 years and over 6,000, including 270 children, have died before receiving the transplant they desperately needed.

A total of 159 people living in Greater Manchester have died between April 2011 and November 2015 because of the shortage of organs.

The figures released by NHS Blood and Transplant coincide with the launch of a new organ donation campaign The Wait to highlight the true scale of the donor organ shortage.

Sally Johnson, the organisation’s director of organ donation and transplantation, said: “I’d ask you to imagine how you’d feel if someone close to you was waiting for a transplant; their whole life on hold, hoping someone will donate to save them. I’m sure we’d all hope an organ would be available to help someone we love - so shouldn’t we all pledge to be organ donors so more lives can be saved? If you haven’t told those closest to you that you want to be an organ donor, then please do it today. Tell them you want to be an organ donor and record your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.”

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, go to organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.