PEOPLE in the Borders are being urged to save lives by joining the NHS Organ Donation Register, writes Bob Burgess.
Health chiefs in Scotland have made the plea as part of a UK-wide campaign to boost the number of people who are prepared to make vital organs available after their death.
Research has revealed that 96 per cent of people would accept a donated organ if they needed one.
However, only three people out of 10 (31 per cent) in the UK have signed up to the register.
Scotland has the highest figure of registered donors at 41 per cent (more than two million people) – but the NHS has launched a drive to boost that figure.
It is using the seven-word slogan: “I’d like to be an organ donor” in its drive.
The seven words represent the seven lives that could be saved by a single donor.
Organs that can be transplanted are the heart, kidneys, lung, liver, pancreas and small bowel.
Tissues that can be used in transplants include the eyes, heart valves, bone, skin and connective tissues.
The latest figures that are available, covering 12 months during 2011-12, show there were 346 transplants in Scotland during that period – the most common was kidney, followed by liver, heart and lung.
During the same period, 514 people remained on the transplant list, with kidney patients in the majority.
A key message from this latest campaign is: “If you want to be an organ donor, it is important not to keep it to yourself”.
An NHS spokesman commented: “Every day in the UK, three people die waiting for a transplant. That’s why it is vitally important to continue to increase the number on the register. People can quite literally give the gift of life to someone after their death.
“In Scotland, 41 per cent of people have already taken action, but there is still a shortage of organs for transplant. Put simply, their generosity could give a new lease of life to the thousands of people waiting for a transplant.”
Gill Hollis, 47, from Edinburgh, who received a left lung transplant in 2004 after 15 years of deteriorating health, commented: “I honestly cannot put into words how much organ donation has meant to me. I am a participant in life again.”
To find out more, visit www.organdonationscotland.org or text LIFE to 61611.