NHS staff and transplant recipients have welcomed the new online application form for a driving licence which asks drivers to consider putting their name down as an organ donor. The Coalition believes that it will increase the number of people on the donor register dramatically.
Currently there are only eighteen million people (29% of the United Kingdom population) on the donor register. This number is very low considering recent surveys have shown that nine out of ten people in the UK would seriously consider donating. Everyone who applies for a driving licence at the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) website will now be asked to opt in to organ donation before completing the application. Before the new system was launched, answering the question was optional but now it is compulsory.
Applying for a licence is another step towards getting a car insurance quote and campaigners feel that anything which encourages people to think about organ donation is a good thing. They, like the Government are hoping to see an increase in the number of people going onto the donor register. They expressed delight that the question can no longer be ignored.
Graham Sparrowhawk’s life was improved when he received a kidney transplant from a man who died in a motorcycle accident. His own had become diseased and removed meaning he had eighteen hours of dialysis treatment each week to keep him alive.
Mr Sparrowhawk said: “I’m very grateful for all the freedom the transplant gave me. It allowed me to live a relatively normal life. Any little nudge to bring the idea of registering as a donor to people’s awareness has got to be a good thing. The system has proved a success in the US and hopefully it will be the same here in the UK.”