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Only one in five East Enders are on the organ donor list

PUBLISHED: 13:36 01 August 2011 | UPDATED: 15:27 01 August 2011

The drive to get more Londoners to sign up to the organ donor register has been stepped up

The drive to get more Londoners to sign up to the organ donor register has been stepped up

Archant

Just one in five people in Tower Hamlets have signed up to the Organ Donor Register - one of the lowest figures in London.

In a bid to drastically improve donation rates, from this week Londoners will have to indicate whether or not they want their organs to be used after their death in driving licence applications.

According to the NHS’s organ donation department, areas like east London are worse hit because there is a larger Asian population and people in these communities are more at risk of illnesses which could lead them to require a replacement organ.

Research has shown that there is not enough awareness of how serious the problem is in the Bangladeshi community.

In a 2006 NHS survey, the majority of Asian people thought they were no more likely than white people to suffer from kidney failure - when in fact they are up to four times more likely.

National clinical director for transplantation Chris Rudge said: “Around 1,260 people across London are currently on the waiting list for a transplant. This is the highest figure across the country. We may be able to help save more lives and keep families together for longer if more people sign up.”

Tower Hamlets is lagging behind the rest of the country as a whole, which has almost a third of people signed up to the register.

As of May this year there were 47,000 people in Tower Hamlets on the register.

There are currently 29 people in the borough waiting for a transplant.

At present, driving licence applicants can opt out of the questionnaire but under the new system they will not be able to proceed with their forms unless they specify their wishes around organ donation.

Compulsory questioning in Illinois in America saw the number of donors increase from 38 per cent to 60 per cent in three years.

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