THE NHS has made an urgent call for Oxfordshire people to join the organ donor register with 49 people in the county currently on the transplant waiting list.

New figures show the number of local organ donors is rising, however, there is still an overall shortage of organs both in Oxfordshire and nationally.

According to the recently published Transplant Activity Report, last year 17 people from Oxfordshire saved lives by allowing their organs to be donated after death.

Radley sports coach, Carl Pinder, who is on the donor register and also donated one of his kidneys to a complete stranger in 2016, has echoed the calls.

The former postman decided to altruistically donate an organ after seeing the life of one of his best friends changed for the better following a kidney transplant.

Urging others to become organ donors, whether that be altruistic or after-death, he said: "People should think of a reason not to do it.

"Do the research, talk with your family, and if there's a reason you can't then all well and good, but if there's nothing stopping you then [become an organ donor] - it's a gratifying thing to do and potentially life-saving."

Speaking about donating his kidney, which saved the life of a transplant patient in Scotland, the 61-year-old added: "It's definitely one of the best things I've done."

Nationally, there was a record number of organ donors, with 1574 people saving lives through deceased organ donation over the last year.

However, despite this around three people die a day in need of a donated organ.

The annual report also highlighted how an ageing population means the average age of potential donors is increasing - the average age of Oxfordshire donors during the 2017 calendar year was 57.

With the publication of the annual statistics, NHS Blood and Transplant are encouraging people to have a conversation with their family and loved ones.

Director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant Sally Johnson, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to all the families in Oxfordshire who have chosen to say ‘yes’ to organ donation - it is the only hope for many desperately ill people.

"We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to save lives through organ donation. We want more people to have that opportunity.”

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