Sunday, 10 February 2008

Blood, Bone Marrow and Organ Donation

Gordon Brown recently suggested overhauling the country's organ donation system so everyone who dies is a donor unless they opt out. I find it sad that this proposal has met such resistance and that it wasn't done years ago. Other countries have done this without trouble, and more peoples lives are saved by this.

I'm a regular blood donor and have been for many years, but there are too few of us. Every operation and many hospital procedures need blood, without it many hospitals would have to stop working. Other counties pay people for blood, but this leads to people giving more than they should with health consequences for themselves and for the recipient. Similarly the scarcity of organs for transplants causes a roaring trade in organs around the world. This can lead to illegal activity as the price rises, it means the wealthy countries citizens can afford to live longer as we can outbid the poor and get the organs.

Unfortunately this government has so lost peoples trust that many see this as another way of them to get it wrong and act against our wishes. It would be a shame to let this shambolic government get this issue wrong. They will probably use it as an argument for I.D. Cards, lets get this right without opening that can of worms.

I found it surprisingly difficult to find a place to give blood when I tried in the 1980s, now there are websites. or call 0845 7 711 711. I prefer not to make an appointment but instead go to Edgware Hospital in NW London by train, you can go during opening hours and give your blood. See 020 87325460.

I'm also on a bone marrow register, a list operated by the Anthony Nolan Trust, Its odd that the government doesn't promote this and run it themselves, the trust has limited resources and are always looking for more donors. They need to find a match from the same ethnic group as the person with Leukemia, so are always searching for donors from ethnic minority backgrounds. Register at the website today.

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