THE BLOG

It's Really Not Very Difficult, Prime Minister - We Need More Organs

08/09/2017 08:36 BST | Updated 08/09/2017 09:14 BST
sturti via Getty Images

Now I'm sure as you sit at the Cabinet table and look around at some of your colleagues, that might seem hard to believe. But bear with me.

If The Wizard of Oz (no, not you Lynton) were set in modern times it's very unlikely the Tin Man would have ever found a heart.  Certainly if he were on the organ donor register he would have found himself on a waiting list longer than the yellow brick road.

In Britain three people die every day waiting for an organ transplant. And more than 6,000 patients are waiting for an organ which could transform their life. 

And that is why the Mirror has been campaigning for the past two years for a change in the organ transplant laws in England which would mean people are deemed to have consented to their organs being donated after death, unless they have said otherwise.

We believe if our Change the Law for Life campaign is successful, the number of donors will increase by 25% and hundreds of lives will be saved every year. 

Wales has already changed the law and Scotland has announced it too will do the same. 

It's a tragedy when someone dies unexpectedly, but it's an even bigger tragedy when two people die and one could have been saved by the other.

A poll commissioned by the BMA earlier this year found while two out of three people (66%) want to donate some or all of their organs after death, only a third (39%) are signed up to the organ donor register.

NHS Blood and Transplant have said an average of three families a week in the UK decide not to allow organ donation because they're unsure, or did not know, if their relatives would have wanted to donate an organ or not. 

But is it right to expect families going through the most traumatic experience of their lives to make an on-the-spot rational decision about this? It's time to take the burden out of their hands during a time of unimaginable stress and grief. 

This week is Organ Donation Week, and the NHS is encouraging people to talk about their wishes with their families. That is hugely important.  But we also believe it is the responsibility of politicians as they return to Parliament to make the changes to law which would save lives. 

Some progress is being made, but we're a long way from the finishing line. 

And it's thanks to a handful of MPs such as Labour's Geoffrey Robinson and Dan Jarvis, who have kept the issue alive.

Meanwhile, Mrs May and her health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, have been dragging their feet.  Perhaps the Maybot would move a little a faster if personality transplants were on the agenda.

Geoffrey Robinson has introduced a private members bill, dubbed "Max's Law" after nine-year-old Max Johnson whose wait for a heart transplant was been followed by the Mirror for several months.  Thankfully Max received a new heart last month.  But for dozens of other families there is no happy ending.  As Max says:  "I hope they do bring the law change in. I don't think people will say no. It is going to help save lives. Why would MPs say no?"

That's a question we'd like answered too. And soon. 

Lloyd Embley is editor-in-chief of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Mirror.co.uk. To find out more about the Mirror's campaign and sign the petition to help Change the Law for Life please click here