>> 16 February 2010

Gordon MSP Alex Salmond and SNP Gordon Westminster Candidate, Richard Thomson, have issued a plea for people to join the organ donor register.

Their call follows the launch of Scotland’s latest organ donation campaign by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon, and the revelation that three people needlessly die each day waiting for an organ transplant which could potentially save their lives.

Backed by TV adverts with the message ‘Spare Clare’, as well as radio promotions, billboards and direct marketing, the £500,000 pound campaign aims to increase the number of potential lifesavers on the NHS organ donor register.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Ms Sturgeon said:

"Organ transplants transform lives and mean that something positive can come out of a loved one's death.

"In Scotland, as well as getting more people on the register, we're working to increase the number of transplants carried out by investing in more donor transplant co-ordinators and raising awareness. And our efforts are paying off - last year we had 72 donors, which is a 10-year high.

"But we can do more and we want to build on our achievement, particularly as international comparisons show we should be able to more than double this number.”

Mr Salmond said:

“Understandably, the end of life is a taboo which no-one likes talking about. Sadly, though, people’s reluctance to let others know of their wishes to donate their organs in the event of their death means that too many other people’s lives, which could perhaps be saved, also end prematurely.

“We all know the difference that an organ transplant can make to someone’s life. By signing up to the organ donor register, we can all become potential lifesavers and give the gift of life.

Mr Thomson added:

“By joining the organ donor register, you can let others know of your wishes and perhaps allow another family to spend more time with their loved one.

“I hope that this campaign makes people think about how they could benefit others in the event of the end of their own life. It only takes a minute to join the register, but the benefits to others could last for a lifetime.”

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