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10 March 2017 08:04
411 patients have died in the past year while waiting for an organ transplant
Waiting times for kidney transplant patients have fallen significantly, health officials have said.
According to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), the amount of time people in desperate need of a new kidney spend on the transplant waiting list has dropped by 18%.
Between 2004 and 2008, patients were waiting an average of 1,153 days before receiving their new organ. Between 2009 and 2013, the figure fell to 944 days.
Kidney transplant patients can arrange medical travel insurance for added peace of mind when travelling abroad.
World Kidney Day
NHSBT released the figures ahead of this year's World Kidney Day, a global event to raise awareness to the importance of kidneys while also encouraging people to sign up as organ donors.
Some 256 patients died while waiting for a kidney, or a kidney and another organ, since World Kidney Day in March 2016.
And around 5,200 people remain on waiting lists for a kidney, or a kidney and another organ.
However, NHSBT says organ donors have reached their highest ever levels, with 23.53 million people signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.
"We're encouraged that the number of people becoming donors has helped reduce how long desperately ill people wait before they receive a kidney transplant," said Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant's director of organ donation and transplantation.
But experts are warning there is still a severe shortage of donated organs.
Ms Johnson added: "Two and a half years is far too long to wait for a kidney and far too many people die without ever receiving the transplant they need.
"Organ donation saves lives and we urge people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register and talk to their families about their decision."
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