I know I have written in previous articles encouraging constituents to become blood donors and organ donors, so this is something of an update.

Last year 500 people died waiting for a transplant because a suitable organ was not available. Therefore to address this challenge, I am very pleased that the Prime Minister has recently announced proposals to move to an opt-out system for organ donation, something many of us have talked about in Parliament for a long time, and I have a number of constituents who have raised this regularly with me.

When we lose a loved one most of us are not in the position to make rational decisions within the time scale needed for a healthy transplant. Many of us know our partner or children’s wishes, but I am always surprised that sometimes it has not been discussed, and families are not sure what to do. This will take away that difficulty of waiting for permission, but also leave the ‘opt out’ option for those for whom organ donation does not suit their wishes.

In 2015/16 the highest ever deceased donor rate in the UK was recorded with 1,364 deceased donors resulting in 3,529 transplants. This was achieved by increasing the number of specialist nurses, in addition to strengthening the donation infrastructure. For example, NHS Blood and Transplant now works with a number of partner organisations to promote organ donation, meaning that people can add their name to the Organ Donor Register when carrying out everyday tasks such as applying for a driving licence or taxing their car.

A seven year UK-wide organ donation and transplantation strategy jointly published by the four UK health ministers and NHSBT in 2013. The strategy aims to increase consent rates, encourage people to be proud to donate and to make the UK system comparable with the best of the world. It builds on the donation infrastructure already in place and the successes achieved, identifying the remaining barriers and setting out how these will be overcome.

I hope you will view the ‘opt in’ system as a positive step forward that will assist the lifesaving transplant network, and in the meanwhile I also hope you have chosen to sign up. www.organdonation.nhs.uk