Majority of people waiting for kidneys are from South Asian community, says consultant

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Intensive care consultant at BRI Dr Paul Cramp and organ donation services manager Jayne Fisher Buy this photo » Intensive care consultant at BRI Dr Paul Cramp and organ donation services manager Jayne Fisher

A total of 40 people from the Bradford area received organ transplants this year – an increase of more than 40 per cent on last year.

Health bosses put the hike down to more donors signing up, but say there is still a desperate need for more people, especially those from the South Asian community, to register to donate organs.

In the Bradford area, 103 people, including six children, are waiting for transplants and this year four patients died whilst waiting for the call to say a match had been found.

Last year 120 adults and children were on the waiting list and 28 transplants were performed on Bradford people.

Dr Paul Cramp, consultant in intensive care medicine at Bradford Royal Infirmary and clinical lead for NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) organ donation in Yorkshire and Humberside, said most people on the list – 90 – were waiting for kidneys.

“The vast majority of people waiting for kidneys do come from the South Asian community. We have fewer donations from that community, which means they then have to wait a lot longer than others, so potentially they’re sicker. There’s a big issue about a lack of BMEs (Black Minority Ethnics) donations, with the South Asian community in Bradford in particular,” he said. Dr Cramp said that whilst no faith group was against organ donation, the clinical reasons why some people chose not to donate or accept donations was “almost blamed on their religion”.

Part of NHSBT’s role is to improve the understanding of what organ donation means. “We have all faith groups leaders agreeing and trying to send this message down the chain, but we’re still struggling to get donors, especially in Bradford and the need is so great,” he said.

“These people are willing to take transplants from different ethnic groups, but not so willing to donate.”

Dr Cramp said finding matches outside of ethic groups was difficult and patients in the South Asian community tended to have a higher demand for kidney transplants due to increased rates of diabetes and heart conditions.

“That’s possibly related to diet, or possibly related to a reluctance to come forward early and seek help,” he said.

The average wait for a kidney is around 18 months, but for South Asian people that wait can be three or four years longer. Nationally, 373 people died whilst waiting for one kidney last year.

Jayne Fisher, team manager for the Yorkshire Organ Donation Services Team, is urging people to talk about their wishes. “It’s about getting that message out that to donate, they’re helping their own communities. The first thing they match is blood group and because their blood group is so different, that immediately rules a lot of donors out,” she said.

Mrs Fisher speaks to the relatives of people who have died at BRI and talks about organ donation with them.

“We know it makes that discussion much easier for families if they’ve [the deceased] discussed it with relatives,” she said.

Four Bradford people donated organs last year, which helped eight people.

“I’ve done this job a long time. I’ve never had a family that has regretted a donation, but I believe some people have regretted that decision when they’ve declined. It’s something positive coming out of a dreadful situation,” said Mrs Fisher.

e-mail: julie.tickner@telegraphandargus.co.uk

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