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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 221

Date:- 03 October 2005

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ORGAN TRANSPLANTS AT RECORD LEVELS

THE number of people benefiting from a life-saving organ transplant is currently on track to be the highest on record.

From April to the end of August 2005, 1,196 organ transplants were carried out, 4% ahead of the same point last year and a 10% increase on the same period two years ago, a year which was the most successful 12 months for transplants to date.

Martin Davis, Acting Chief Executive of NHS UK Transplant, said:- "These results, along with the continuing campaign to encourage more people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register, mean we are cautiously optimistic that 2005-06 will be the most successful ever for transplant patients.

Much of this success is down to the many hundreds of people who each year offer the precious gift of life, either to complete
strangers after their own death or to someone close to them as a living donor."


The number of living donors is also running at record levels. The first five months of 2005-06 saw 222 people receive a new kidney or liver donated by a relative or close friend, that's 28% ahead of last year's 174. The 339 people becoming organ donors after their death is the highest figure for seven years and compares to 326 in the same period for 2004-05, an increase of 4%.

"The results show the importance of a number of programmes developed by UK Transplant that are proving to be highly successful and cost-effective. These non-heartbeating, living kidney donation, donor liaison and transplant co-ordination programmes are enabling more patients, particularly those with kidney disease or failure, to receive the gift of a donated organ.


The living donor programmes alone have generated a 39% increase in living kidney transplants over the last four years.

Working with colleagues in the wider NHS and the international transplant community is producing other real benefits for patients. Transplant success rates have improved with 81% of heart transplants, 85% of liver transplants, 94% of living kidney grafts and 89% of transplants using kidneys donated after death surviving the critical first year."
added Martin Davis.

Despite this, there is still a critical shortage of donated organs for transplant, around 8,000 people currently need a transplant and more than 400 people die each year waiting.

Martin Davis said:- "That stark figure shows we cannot be complacent about our successes. Forty per cent of relatives refuse permission for loved ones' organs to be donated, mainly because they are unaware of their wishes. The vital message to people is that they should discuss it with their family when signing up to the ODR."

The latest figures coincide with the publication of the annual report of UK Transplant, the NHS special authority which manages organ donation and transplantation services in the UK. On 1 October, UK Transplant merges with the National Blood Authority to become NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

2004-05 also saw the launch of a year-long campaign to mark the 10th anniversary of the NHS Organ Donor Register, which provides a secure way for people to register their wish to donate organs after their death.

The campaign, launched on 6 October, 2004, aimed to encourage an additional one million people to sign up to the register, taking the total to 12.6 million. The "magic million" was reached in the first half of September, three weeks ahead of schedule. Health Minister Rosie Winterton said:- "It is wonderful news that a record number of people have now signed up to
the Organ Donor Register. To mark the anniversary, UK Transplant set a challenge to register 1 million more people this year
alone, and I am delighted to see that they have succeeded in this. Each and every of one those who signed the Register are
helping to save lives."


You can sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register by calling 0845 60 60 400, or by visiting
www.uktransplant.org.uk 

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DRC pledges to get tough on access offenders on North West’s high streets

ON the eve of the first anniversary of new laws to make buildings more user friendly to Britain’s disabled people, the Disability Rights Commission has revealed nearly two out of three complaints about the legislation from North West callers concern leisure and retail high street businesses.

Responding to the findings, Bert Massie, Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC), said:- “We’ve got a very simple message for those high street businesses that are dragging their feet. The DRC will vigorously pursue offenders through the courts. We are already taking legal action against two major leisure and retail providers and have a hit list of several others to follow. Laws to make business and services more user-friendly for disabled people have been on the statute book for ten years and there really is nowhere to hide anymore. To be doing very little for your disabled customers is no longer an option."

The leisure and retail sectors, which include pubs, shops, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, gyms, sports facilities and hotels, accounted for 62% of all complaints by disabled people living in the North West. This compares with the national figure of 55% of all 1,500 complaints nationwide about the lack of access in the retail and leisure sector received by the DRC helpline since October last year.

The biggest problems disabled people faced were the lack of accessible toilets in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Other often cited issues included steps to entrances where no ramp was provided, the lack of disabled people’s parking, poor changing room facilities for disabled people and poor staff attitudes.

Bert Massie continued:- “Disabled people are rarely seen in pubs, shops, restaurants and clubs. The reason? Too many high streets still appear to have a sign up that says ‘disabled people are not welcome here’. The result is the social segregation of disabled people from everyone else on a grand scale.”

The DRC recently supported Greg Jackson in the first physical access case to result in legal action against the retailer, Debenhams. The leisure industry is about to be the subject of another legal case supported by the DRC, against Spirit Group Limited.

However, overall the picture is less gloomy. The DRC has investigated over 40 cases across many business sectors where disabled people were receiving a poor service in the past year. Eighty per cent of these were resolved positively. For example, ramps were installed, accessible toilets built, entrances widened, disabled parking bays introduced, and in some cases disabled people received financial compensation.

The DRC has also been working with the major brewer, Youngs, which has entered into a formal agreement with the DRC to make their pubs more user-friendly to disabled people. As part of the agreement, Youngs have recently carried out access audits in all their pubs to identify any physical features that may create barriers for disabled people and has agreed to remove these as soon as possible. 

1/3RD OF BRITISH FAMILIES NEVER MEET

IN United Kingdom September 2005:- A new poll conducted by MORI on behalf of the organisers of National Meetings Week (NMW) and the initiative’s ‘Let’s Meet at Home’ campaign, has revealed that 32% of families never meet. Over 2/3 of all Brits do not
meet to discuss family matters regularly (i.e. once a month or more often). According to the research, 15% meet between 2 and 4 times a year and seven per cent meet just once per year.

The research was conducted to draw attention to the benefits of face to face meetings, as the UK meetings industry prepares to celebrate meetings during its annual NMW. This year’s NMW is already supported by many large organisations, many celebrities such as Jonathan Ross, Gaby Roslin, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Ricky Gervais as well as over 80 cross party MPs who
have signed up to support the campaign, including Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Clare Scott Dryden, supporter of National Meetings Week and founder of Childalert, an organisation which promotes the health and well being of children, commented:- “Family communication is the key to supporting and understanding individual needs. So often family members pass like ships in the night, especially as children get older and because more and more families have two working parents.

Scheduling in time to 'meet' to discuss family matters and agree family rules and values is key in establishing confidence  and good self esteem and thereby the basic principal to safety and development. Childalert supports National Meetings Week as a great way to raise awareness of the importance of meetings, and highlight that a meeting does not necessarily mean a group of business people in an office, they can and should be taking place in all walks of life.

The results of this research demonstrate that families are not meeting enough and because of this may suffer from a lack of understanding of each others’ feelings and opinions, which can often lead to frustration and hostility. There are many benefits to sitting down and meeting as a family and you will see much activity encouraging both families and businesses to formally discuss important issues much more during National Meetings Week.”  

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