Relatives of registered organ donors block more than 100 transplants a year

Telegraph Reporters
More than 500 families have blocked organ donations from taking place in the last five years, figures show - PA

Objections from relatives have stopped more than 100 organ donations from taking place each year, it is reported.

Figures from NHS Blood and Transplant Service (NHSBT) have shown that 505 families have blocked donations from taking place in the last five years - despite the deceased being a registered donor.

The data was obtained by the BBC, with one would-be donor telling the broadcaster she was worried her family may not support her wishes.

The 17-year-old, referred to as Rachel, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I wasn't aware when I signed up that your family had to be supportive of your decision. It seems like, well, what's the point of signing up if it could be overruled anyway?

"It does worry me because, if I died now, my mum does make the main decision. I hope I can trust her to make the right one."

Laws surrounding organ donation suggest that consent is given by the deceased - but the wishes of relatives are respected.

Similar figures were published in January last year, suggesting relatives blocked transplants in 547 - or one in seven - cases since 2010.

In response, the NHSBT said it would no longer seek a family's formal consent in order to reduce the number of "overrides".

At a glance | How to become an organ donor

The latest figures come weeks after Prime Minister Theresa May announced a shift in "the balance of presumption in favour of organ donations" in England, saying it will give more people a realistic chance of receiving a transplant.

The proposals would see changes to the current system whereby those wishing to donate their organs have to opt in, which requires registration on a scheme run by NHSBT.

A Government consultation on "presumed consent" will look at whether there should be a reversal of the rules in which people would be automatically entered on to the donor register - unless they choose to opt out.

Mrs May told the Conservative Party conference that 500 people died last year because a suitable donor organ was not available.

Video: Theresa May speaks about organ donation

"Our ability to help people who need transplants is limited by the number of organ donors that come forward," the Prime Minister said.

"That is why last year 500 people died because a suitable organ was not available. And there are 6,500 on the transplant list today.

"So to address this challenge that affects all communities in our country, we will change that system. Shifting the balance of presumption in favour of organ donation."

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