The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Yorkshire’s organ donation campaign urges for voices to not go unheard

2 September 2019

  • Across Yorkshire and the Humber signups to the NHS Organ Donor Register have increased, unfortunately the number of people waiting for an organ transplant has also increased.
  • In West Yorkshire transplants undertaken have increased, but there are still 259 people in West Yorkshire and 74 people in Leeds waiting for a life changing transplant.
  • The impact of family consent and the new 2020 opt-out system means families should discuss organ donation if they want their choices to be honoured.

The number of people in Yorkshire and the Humber on the NHS Organ Donor Register has increased by over 17,550 over the past year, according to the 2018/19 figures from NHS Blood and Transplant*.

The latest figures - which have been shared by Yorkshire’s dedicated organ donation campaign Be A Hero, to celebrate Organ Donation Week (2nd - 8th September) - reveal that almost 2 million** people are currently registered as organ donors in the region. Across West Yorkshire almost 770,000 have made the decision to record their organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register, while in Leeds alone the figure currently stands at 287,396.

The Be A Hero campaign, run by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT), highlights that having the #DonationConversation is a vital part of the process to register your decision about organ donation.

The campaign encourages people in Yorkshire to talk about organ donation with their nearest and dearest before recording their decision on the register. This is because families are given the final decision when faced with a bereavement. By sharing your decision with your family, you can ensure that your choices are honoured, if anything were to happen.

The number of people waiting for a transplant in Yorkshire and the Humber in 2018/19 is 497, highlighting a 2% increase across the region since 2017/18. In West Yorkshire currently, there are 259 people waiting for a transplant, of which 28% will be treated in Leeds.

Over the last year, 63 patients from Leeds have had a transplant, which is an increase of 34% compared to 2017/18.

Since 2017/18, the total number of transplants successfully carried out in West Yorkshire increased by 13%, while figures across the entire Yorkshire region increased by 3.2%.

Be A Hero LGIToday (Monday 2nd September) Be A Hero launches the next phase of the #DonationConversation campaign in Leeds city centre, which will see a ‘voiceless’ actor trapped inside a transparent box. Passers-by will be able to see the person speaking but won’t be able to hear them, representing those whose organ donation views go unknown or ignored after death.

Dr Claire Tordoff, Clinical Lead in Organ Donation, explains: “This year we wanted to start Organ Donation Week with a powerful message about the impact of family consent, and so the silent box symbolises the voices of people whose organ donation wishes have gone unheard. This reiterates the importance of having the #DonationConversation so that your family fully understand your feelings towards organ donation, meaning they can respect your final wishes, should anything happen.

“With the upcoming law change and proposed plans to introduce an opt-out system in 2020, whereby adults will be presumed organ donors unless they record their decision not to be, it’s now even more important to make your decision and share with your family as well as recording this on the NHS Organ Donor Register.”

To find out more about organ donation, please visit You can also sign up to the donor register by calling 0300 123 23 23.

You can make a charitable donation to the Be A Hero campaign, which raises awareness of organ donation within Yorkshire, by visiting