Tuesday, 24th April 2018
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Minister of State for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne TD yesterday launched Organ Donor Awareness week and thanked the Irish Kidney Association, who this year are celebrating their 40th anniversary, for carrying out incredible work to raise awareness of the importance and value of organ donation.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Byrne said "I am committed to building on the continued success we are seeing in the area of organ donation and transplantation, and I want to ensure that Ireland ranks among the most successful countries in terms of the number of people who donate their organs, the number of transplants that arise from these generous donations and the subsequent quality of life of organ recipients."

The Minister highlighted the record number of organ donors and transplants in 2017 which saw 311 transplants from 150 donors, improving on the previous record of 127 organ donors in 2016 and 294 transplants in 2013.

- A total of 192 kidney transplants were carried out at the National Renal Transplant Service, Beaumont Hospital - 141 deceased donor kidney transplants and 51 Living Kidney Donor Transplants.

- 62 liver transplants and 5 pancreas transplants were performed at the National Liver Transplant Service, St Vincent’s University Hospital;

- 36 lung transplants and 16 heart transplants were performed at the National Heart and Lung Transplant Service at the Mater Hospital.

Minister Byrne said; "The Living Kidney Transplantation Programme continues to go from strength to strength. Living donor transplants increased from 33 in 2015 to 51 last year; up nearly 50% in the space of two years. I want to particularly thank the donors of the living programme for their huge generosity in giving the opportunity for life-changing transplantation to their loved ones."

The Minister added; '’It's intended to bring draft Heads of a Human Tissue Bill to Government in May. One aim of the legislation is to make organ donation the norm in Ireland in situations where the opportunity arises, and so the legislation proposes to change the current system to one of soft opt-out consent."

"The introduction of an opt-out system of consent will be accompanied by a publicity campaign and we hope this will encourage people to discuss organ donation with their loved ones. If your next-of-kin knows that your wish is to become a donor, it will make the their decision to allow donation much easier. It will also give relations and loved ones the satisfaction of knowing the wishes of the person were fulfilled."

She concluded: "I wish Organ Donor Awareness Week every success and want to thank everyone involved for their efforts in making this week possible. I know the importance of this initiative in raising awareness nationally, ultimately resulting in more people getting the all-important call that an organ match has been found for them."

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