Shortage of black and Asian donors means nearly one in five who die waiting for a transplant is BAME
More black and Asian people are receiving lifesaving transplants but patients remain particularly vulnerable to dying on the wait list due to low donation rates in these communities.
Figures published today by NHS Blood and Transplant in the UK Transplant Activity Report show that 232 black people and 487 Asian people had organ transplants during 2016/17.
However minority communities including black and Asian people now make up 22% of the waiting list and organ donation rates remain low in these communities. Last year, 6.4% of all deceased organ donors were from minority ethnic communities. The figure is increasing but black and Asian families are still much more likely to decline to donate organs for life saving transplants. This means not enough organs are available to meet the needs of all patients waiting for a transplant from those communities.
The report reveals that while white patient waits an average of 806 days for a kidney transplant, an Asian patient waits 962 days, and a black patient waits 1,074 days. The longer waiting times can put the patient at a greater risk of dying. 18% of the people who died waiting for a transplant last year were from minority communities.
Although many black and Asian patients are able to receive a transplant from a white donor, for many patients the best match will come from a donor from the same ethnic background. This is because organs are matched by blood group and tissue type, and people from the same ethnic background are more likely to have matching blood groups and tissue types.
People from black and Asian communities are also more likely to develop conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and certain forms of hepatitis than white people. This makes them more likely to need a transplant.
The number of also living donors fell by 3% to 1,043. Many black and Asian kidney patients rely on family members and friends donating. Nationally, there are more BAME living donors than deceased donors. Last year, 17 black people became living donors, and 79 Asian people.
The overall shortage of donated organs remains. The report reveals 457 people died last year while on the active transplant waiting list. A further 875 people were removed from the list, mainly because they were too ill to undergo transplant surgery. Many of these patients will have died shortly after removal from the list.
Sally Johnson said: “Any of us, or a family member, friend, or member of our community might need a transplant in future. People in need of transplants rely on people being willing to donate their organs to save their lives.
“Three quarters of black and Asian people tell us they would definitely donate, or would consider donating, some or all of their organs. However currently only 35% of people form black, Asian and minority communities agree to donate when asked in hospitals. More black and Asian lives would be saved if more black and Asian people donated.
“Organ donation saves lives and it only takes two minutes to sign up as an organ donor. Please register at organdonation.nhs.uk.”
In 2013, the UK Governments and NHS Blood and Transplant launched a seven year organ donation and transplantation strategy Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020. To view or download the strategy go to: http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/to2020/
The full Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2016/17 can be viewed from Tuesday, July 11th at: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/supporting-my-decision/statistics-about-organ-donation/transplant-activity-report/
Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk