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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 00:34 GMT
Minister makes organ donor plea
Organ Donation
A campaign is under way to increase the number of potential donors
Fewer lives would end prematurely if more people signed on for organ donation, according to Scotland's health minister.

Andy Kerr has launched a fresh drive to increase the number of people registered to give their organs when they die.

A total of 55 people died in Scotland last year while waiting on a list for an organ transplant.

About 6,500 people are waiting in the UK, with 603 patients in Scotland.

The Scottish Executive wants to cut the number and is keen to get as many people as possible to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Following a campaign which began last November, it has launched a new series of press adverts to convey one simple message - if you leave it to someone else to donate organs, it could be you or your loved one dying needlessly.

If you join the organ donor register you could save a life - there is a clear decision to be made
Andy Kerr
Health minister

Speaking as he launched the next phase of Scotland's new organ donation campaign, Mr Kerr said: "Over 400 people in the UK die each year while waiting for an organ transplant - many of those in Scotland.

"The main message of this campaign is simple. If you join the organ donor register you could save a life - there is a clear decision to be made.

"Many people carry donor cards which is good. However, being on the NHS organ donor register is a good way to ensure your organs are donated should anything happen to you."

'One answer'

He added that informing relatives of any organ donation wish was almost as important as joining the register itself.

Mr Kerr said: "It is crucial that people talk to their friends and family about what their wishes are. At what is a very difficult time, it makes the decision to donate a loved one's organs far easier, if you know for certain it is what they would have wanted.

"For some people organ donation is a big decision to contemplate, for others there is only one answer.

"But if everyone out there chooses to leave it to someone else to donate, it could be you or your loved one that dies needlessly."

Donor transplant co-ordinator in Aberdeen, Norma Hughson, added: "This strong and focused campaign being led by the executive is welcomed by those involved in donation Scotland-wide.

"Signing on to the NHS Organ Donor Register sends a huge message of support and provides hope to the hundreds of Scottish people on waiting lists around the country."

Watch one man's story of waiting for a transplant

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30 Nov 05 |  Scotland
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02 Oct 05 |  Scotland
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28 Jun 04 |  Politics

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