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Uttoxeter MP calls for donor campaign

Andrew Griffiths

Andrew Griffiths

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UTTOXETER’S MP has made an impassioned plea in Parliament for ministers to do more to promote organ donation.

It was revealed last week by bone marrow transplant charity Anthony Nolan that East Staffordshire was ranked 515th of 650 boroughs in terms of the number of bone marrow donors in each.

And, earlier this week, Andrew Griffiths told his parliamentary colleagues in the House of Commons about the battle of recovering leukaemia patient Katherine Sinfield, who had a bone marrow transplant in October.

Mrs Sinfield (pictured with husband Stephen) featured in a Uttoxeter News article on Wednesday, during which she announced her aim to help East Staffordshire into the top 100 boroughs for organ donation.

Mr Griffiths also highlighted the Take Five Minutes campaign run by the Post and Times’ sister paper, the Burton Mail, which aims to encourage more donors to come forward.

The MP stopped short of saying England should adopt the opt-out donor system, which will come into force in Wales next year, but was adamant more needed to be done.

Mr Griffiths said the Mail had done a ‘huge amount’ to raise awareness of the issue.

The debate became heated at times, with Mr Griffiths’ comments provoking a prickly response from Welsh MP Glyn Davies, who is unhappy with the decision of his homeland to introduce the opt-out system from December 2015.

But Mr Griffiths said more people would continue to die unless something was done to encourage more donors to come forward.

He told his fellow politicians: “The reality is that, in Britain today, some 7,000 people are currently on the waiting list for an organ transplant.

“Right now, they are at home, ill, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for the hospital to call, waiting for the chance of a new life.

“Their lives depend on that phone call and on that organ being made available.”

He said donor numbers were ‘pitifully low’ and launching an advertising campaign similar to one which recently enjoyed success in Scotland would be a good starting point.

“I believe that we should have a simple, hard-hitting campaign just like that in England and Wales,” he said.

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