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Friday, 13 July, 2001, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Organ donor campaign launched
Organ donation
Organ donations are in short supply
A campaign to encourage more people to carry donor cards has been launched by transplant charities and the Scottish Executive.

Current estimates suggest only 16% of Scots are registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register, which includes a list of people willing to become donors after their death.

Billboard posters will bear a picture of a woman with a donor card in her back pocket with the caption: "Nice, but are you carrying a donor card too?"

The posters are designed to impress the need for more donors to come forward.

The need for organs will become even more pressing and by carrying a donor card, Scots have it in them not only to save another life, but perhaps two or even three

Marilyn Scott-Guy
The posters, which will appear across Scotland, are accompanied by a cinema campaign running for two weeks from 23 July.

More than 600 Scots are currently on the Transplant Waiting List, but only a quarter of that number (163) received organ transplants last year.

Marilyn Scott-Guy, national director of the National Kidney Research Fund in Scotland, said: "Over the next decade the number of people needing a transplant is expected to rise steeply due to an ageing population, an increase in kidney failure and scientific advances which result in more people being suitable for a transplant.

"The need for organs will become even more pressing and by carrying a donor card, Scots have it in them not only to save another life, but perhaps two or even three."

Vital organs

Dr Stewart Rodger, consultant kidney specialist at Glasgow's Western Infirmary, said: "We need to encourage more Scots to carry donor cards and join the NHS donor register so that we can continue to offer hope and a second chance to those whose vital organs have failed."

Dr Rodger added that the problems of finding organs were compounded by the high refusal rate by families of would-be donors, who have the final say on whether organs can be donated.

Currently about 30% of families overrule their dead relatives' wishes to donate their organs for transplants, he said.

He added: "If we can get more organs donated we can save lives and spare people from kidney dialysis. Not only that, but we can save the lives of people suffering from heart and liver disease as well."

The billboard posters will appear in towns and cities across Scotland and is accompanied by a cinema campaign which will run for two weeks from July 23.

The West of Scotland Regional Transplant Co-ordinators launched the campaign in collaboration with the National Kidney Research Fund in Scotland and the Scottish Executive.

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See also:

29 Dec 00 | Scotland
Renewed appeal over blood donations
27 Dec 00 | Health
Blood donor plea as stocks dip
04 Dec 00 | Health
NHS crisis 'here already'
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