Gibraltarians sign up as organ donors following deal with UK
Some 260 people in Gibraltar have signed up to become organ donors this year after it was announced that organ donations would be made possible on the Rock.
Last February the UK online register for organ donation was opened for those residing in Gibraltar following an agreement between the Gibraltar Health Authority and Hammersmith Hospital in London.
This meant people needing organs in Gibraltar could receive organs from those in the UK, and in return UK recipients could draw on organ donations from Gibraltar.
According to NHS Blood and Transplant, since March 2017 a total of 272 people from Gibraltar signed-up to the Organ Donor Register.
In 2018, since the UK list was opened to locals, 260 people from Gibraltar signed-up to register, an NHS spokesman told the Chronicle.
The statistics were collated by a team at the NHS using information of those registered under the Gibraltar postcode GX11 1AA.
The register is for organs to be donated posthumously, and Gibraltar donors will be added to the UK list.
Organ donations can be challenging, particularly with the organs being flown to and from Gibraltar and London.
It is estimated just one or two viable organ donors will be identified annually in Gibraltar.
Earlier this year, four people in Gibraltar were waiting for kidney transplants and these patients were registered on the UK list.
Every viable donor has the potential to donate eight organs and save eight lives.
When a viable donor is found a team from the NHS Blood and Transplant Service will travel to Gibraltar and examine the organs for several hours at St Bernard’s Hospital to examine the organs.
The process to retrieve an organ could take 24 hours. After the organ is retrieved the organs have to immediately be returned to the UK.
Gibraltar residents can sign up to the UK Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or by phone on 0044 300 123 23 23.
“As the option to donate your organs after death and give the gift of life to others will be available in Gibraltar, it is vitality important that you make your family aware of your wishes,” a spokesman for the GHA said.
“It is advised to tell family members and friends about this decision to ensure this is known at the time of death.”