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  1. ITV Report

How a change in the law could help those waiting for an organ transplant

Doctors specialising in transplant surgery say they hope a change in the law in organ donation will lead to more lives being saved.

From today organ donation is now automatic rather than an active decision to join the NHS donor register- unless people opt out.

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Stuart Leithes

Richard Priest has been waiting for a transplant operation at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge longer than any other in-patient.

He was diagnosed with a congenital heart disorder in 2004. After his condition worsened - he was admitted to Papworth on New Year's Eve.

A change in the law could make a difference for patients like Richard. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"The team here have been fantastic, they instil such confidence in you.

"It’s going to happen at some point it’s going to happen,I’ve got every confidence all I’ve got to do is to keep myself fit and healthy keep the weight off stop the fluid build up, just keep myself going and going get myself stable and it will happen."

– Richard Priest, Transplant patient

On ITV News Anglia in February we featured Liam Hanrahan marrying his partner Sarah at Royal Papworth, while he was a patient in the hospital's critical care unit.

He's since had a successful heart transplant operation.

Liam was one of the lucky ones to receive a heart transplant. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"No-one wants to think about dying so no-one ever thinks I’ll sign myself up for organ donation then obviously when it comes and they did pass away they may not realise it was something they wanted to do.

"People don’t realise that when they pass away how many lives they can save."

– Sarah Hanrahan

At the moment people who die with Covid 19 can't be considered for organ donation.

But by 2023 it's thought nationally it will lead to around 700 more transplants each year.