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Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 03:51 GMT 04:51 UK
Transplant waiting lists growing
Organ donation
Donation levels vary across the country
Waiting lists for transplants are continuing to grow despite government attempts to increase the number of organ donations, the Liberal Democrats have said.

The party now wants the government to listen to calls for the current donor volunteer programme to be replaced with a system which presumes consent unless someone has expressed a wish to opt out.

Figures show the active waiting list for liver transplants has increased by 47% between June 2001 and June 2002 and the total waiting list for the same period is up 2%.


Our present old-fashioned and creaking arrangements badly need to be brought up to date

Dr Evan Harris
Lib Dems
Overall transplants from dead donors have gone down 10% in the year up to June 2002.

During the same period kidney transplants from dead donors fell by 15% and lung transplants from dead donors fell by 11% .

The issue hit the headlines on Tuesday when former Manchester United and Northern Ireland football legend George Best underwent a liver transplant operation after a long wait for an organ.

He is currently recovering in the Cromwell Hospital in London

Lib Dem shadow health secretary Dr Evan Harris said: "This is an urgent problem.

"For every George Best there are many people in desperate need of a life saving or life transforming transplant who die while waiting.

'Creaking'

"Many organs are lost to burial or cremation when their owners would have wanted them to be used to save a life.

"Our present old-fashioned and creaking arrangements badly need to be brought up to date."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We are trying to improve transplant services and increase the number of transplants carried out.

"Already we have got a draft action transplant plan out for consultation.

"We will be considering comments made and the final version will be published in the autumn."

See also:

02 Aug 02 | UK
05 Jul 02 | Health
17 Mar 02 | England
14 Feb 01 | Health
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