END OUR WAIT ON AN INVISIBLE DEATH ROW. PATIENTS WAITING FOR A TRANSPLANT CHALLENGE THE PUBLIC WITH A HARD HITTING AD.

A major welsh based campaign group has filmed new hard hitting interviews to promote the Organ Donor Register showing real patients from Wales for the first time waiting for an organ transplant and wants Westminster to change the law on organ donation in the UK. The Campaigners contend that patients tell them that it is like waiting on death row. Scenes in the advert were filmed in a jail cell.

Roy J. Thomas Chairman of Donate Wales and Kidney Wales said “The UK has one of the lowest organ donor rates in the developed world. This is why we have shown real patients in our advert and not the actors used by government agencies. Real people have told us that they are on their own personal death row. Actors are for Hollywood movies. I challenge anyone to deny these real fantastic people a proper life.”

Mr. Thomas added “The Organ Donor Register is important but the policy of carrying a card is now so out dated. We did this in the 1980’s. Times have moved on, as have most developed countries to save more lives with an opt out organ donation system. “

It has taken 15 years for 16 million – about a quarter of the UK population – to join the Organ Donor Register. This puts the UK to shame when we know up to 90% of the population would like to save others by donating their organs.

In early 2008 the recommendations of the UK Organ Donor Taskforce argued that it will be possible to increase the number of organ donors by 50% by 2013 through structural changes to the NHS. Whilst we welcome those moves, this falls far short of what is needed.

An article in the British Medical Journal earlier this month showed how flawed that report was. It also showed that had an opt out organ donation system been in place an additional 2880 people would have donated in the last decade.

Mr Roy J Thomas asserted “We are now holding back success in transplantation. Leading European countries with an Opt Out system are ahead of us – Belgium, France and Spain who have the higher rates of deceased organ donation per million as opposed to the UK.”

Patient, Kerrianne Phillips, 22, waiting for a liver said “I sit in Aberystwyth waiting and it is very hard. More and more people like me die every year waiting for a transplant. My liver weighs two stone now. I manage my pain with morphine 24 hours a day. If I don’t get a new liver, I will die. Changing the system to an opt out one will mean more organs are donated. It could save my life.”

Alison Goldsworthy, Director of Communications for Kidney Wales, who organised the screening with the patients said “We need change. For years, people have tried to change the system. Last year Wales became the first place to announce they would be making the change. We’ve campaigned hand in hand with patients like those in the advert. Patients who are waiting on their own death row, waiting for a transplant.”

Notes to Editors

•The adverts feature people from across Wales waiting for a range of organs. Copies are available on request electronically or in DV Cam format. English and Welsh language case studies and spokespeople are available.

•The ad campaign was produced with support of the Welsh Assembly Government, adverts will be broadcast on ITV and S4C over the coming months. It will be supported by further ongoing campaign activity.

•A range of organisations are supporting the Donate Wales campaign RNIB Cymru, The British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK Cymru, British Medical Association, Live Life the Give Life, British Liver Trust, CF Trust, British Lung Foundation, Welsh Kidney Patients Association.

•To join the organ donor register visit www.donatewales.org

•To join the opt out campaign visit www.optingforlife.org

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhLT_oQXuWIEND OUR WAIT ON AN INVISIBLE DEATH ROW. PATIENTS WAITING FOR A TRANSPLANT CHALLENGE THE PUBLIC WITH A HARD HITTING AD.

A major welsh based campaign group has filmed new hard hitting interviews to promote the Organ Donor Register showing real patients from Wales for the first time waiting for an organ transplant and wants Westminster to change the law on organ donation in the UK. The Campaigners contend that patients tell them that it is like waiting on death row. Scenes in the advert were filmed in a jail cell.

Roy J. Thomas Chairman of Donate Wales and Kidney Wales said