World Kidney Day call to sign up to become an organ donor

Councillor Martin Towler (far right) at Bedford Hospital

“Sign up now, and you could be a lifesaver.”

That is the message from Councillor Martin Towler, Portfolio Holder for Health, Public Health and Wellbeing at Bedford Borough Council, as he supports efforts to get more people to become organ donors.

Councillor Towler was at Bedford Hospital on Thursday for an awareness event to mark World Kidney Day, and he is continuing to encourage residents to register as donors. 

He said; “There are an estimated 88,000 people living with chronic kidney disease in the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes area. Around 380 of them currently rely on dialysis to stay alive, and Kidney Research UK estimates this could increase to as many as 1,820 people by 2033 if interventions are not made to diagnose and treat people earlier, preventing them from reaching the stage of needing dialysis.

“Organ donation saves and improves lives, but there is a severe shortage of donor organs. Nationally, over 400 people died waiting for a transplant last year.  That’s why the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging everyone who can to sign up to the organ donation register, and to make their loved ones aware of their decision – and I am delighted to support them.”

The shortage of donors is particularly marked in ethnic minority groups. Tarsem Paul, chairman of the Organ Donation Committee at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said “If you are Black, Asian or belong to a minority ethnic group, your decision to become an organ donor could increase the chances of someone from the same ethnic background finding a suitable match. Register your decision and you could transform a life by becoming an organ donor.”

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