A groundbreaking market research project to investigate the real reasons why people in the UK do not sign up to donate their organs has been commissioned by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

90 per cent of people in the UK say that they are in favour of organ donation in principle1, but only 26 per cent of the population have actually registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR).

The study, being carried out by research specialists, Synovate, will explore this paradox and look into both the rational reasons and emotional issues that may be stopping people from joining the 16 million others who have already signed up to the ODR.

This research - involving both a public survey and focus groups - will inform a major nationwide campaign to raise public awareness about organ donation. The study will look at the real barriers to donation, with the aim of significantly increasing the number of people on the ODR and increasing the number of organs available for transplantation.

8000 organs are needed for lifesaving transplant operations every year. The Organ Donation Taskforce report, published in early 2008, called for a 50% increase in donation in the UK within five years. In November 2008, the Prime Minister set a new aspiration to reach 25 million on the ODR by 2013. In order to work towards this shared new objective, NHSBT is looking to prompt a shift in people's attitudes to organ donation and add many more people to the ODR over the next four years.

Henrietta Joy, Director of Communications & Public Affairs, NHS Blood and Transplant, said: " Around 1000 people die every year in this country (almost 3 a day) waiting for an organ transplant. We need to be much clearer as to why more people are not signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and what would motivate them to do so."

"Last year 3,238 organ transplants were carried out in the UK, thanks to the generosity of 1,662 deceased and living donors - the highest on record - but the need for transplants is increasing faster than the number being performed.

We will be running a high-profile, multi-media public awareness campaign to ensure that many more people's lives can be saved and transformed by organ donation."


- The NHS Organ Donor Register is a confidential database used to identify those who have registered and indicated that they wish to be organ and/or tissue donors in the event of their death. It can be accessed by authorised medical staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to establish an individual's wishes on donation.

- There are currently more than 16 million people on the NHS Organ Donor Register

- You are more likely to need a transplant than become a donor

- NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority in the NHS. It is the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs. Its remit also includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS.

- Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 6,000 staff across 62 countries. More information on Synovate can be found at synovate.

UK Transplant

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