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Simon MacCorkindale stars in Holby at Casualty as part of the BBC DoNation week

BBC DoNation survey reveals UK are happy to donate their organs but are keeping it to themselves!

Please ensure that any data used from this release credits BBC DoNation


A BBC survey for its DoNation season has revealed that a massive 90 per cent of UK adults are in favour of organ donation.


However, an astonishing 51 per cent said they had never even discussed this important subject with those close to them.


DoNation, from Monday 22 to Saturday 27 August, aims to get this subject out of the closet once and for all.


The survey uncovered further surprising information about the UK's attitude towards organ donation and transplantation...


Most people vastly over-estimated the number of organ transplants carried out last year, with a third believing it to be 7,708 - which is, in fact, the number of people in the UK who need a transplant (data from UK Transplant, May 2005).


Due to a shortage of donors, only 2,724 organ transplants were carried out last year.


However, two out of three people questioned said that they would accept an animal's organ if their life depended on it and if it was medically possible.


The survey asked why people hadn't joined the NHS Organ Donor Register and almost half (45%) said they hadn't really thought about it. A third (30%) of respondents wanted to but hadn't got round to it; and 13% said they'd like to sign up but didn't know how.


Of the one in ten who did not wish to donate their organs, the survey highlighted various misconceptions:


Over half said that they didn't want their body to be experimented on after their death


A third believed they were too old or unwell for their organs to be of any use


A fifth were concerned that doctors wouldn't fight as hard to save them if they knew they wished to be a donor, or feared that they might not really be dead if and when the decision is made to take their organs


A quarter felt it would be tempting fate if they now made the decision to join the register


In fact, all these concerns are incorrect and unfounded but it does show that there are inaccuracies in people's perception of what organ donation involves.


Professor Robert Winston, who presents some of the programming, commented: "DoNation aims to address these issues so that people are able to make a properly informed decision about whether to join the Organ Donor Register.


"It's not easy to get people to address their own mortality, but statistically we are more likely to need a transplant than to donate an organ - so I hope this season will get more people thinking and talking about this important subject."


There is a startling lack of knowledge about the human body amongst some people, as 17 per cent did not know that the cornea is found in the eye.


And a quarter didn't know what the kidneys do - three per cent believe this vital organ helps improve a person's sex drive!


Six out of ten respondents believe there should be a change in the law to an opt-out system. This would mean that everyone in the UK is automatically considered a potential donor unless they have specifically registered that they do not wish to be.


When asked about their own organs, over half (54 per cent) of those questioned said they were most concerned about their heart.


The lungs were the main worry for one in six. Of these, unsurprisingly, over half were smokers but - in what might be a growing sign of the times - just over one in ten expressed concerns about the effect of pollution on their lungs.


DoNation on the BBC aims to raise awareness by explaining the facts and dispelling the myths about organ donation and transplantation.


It aims to enable people to make an informed decision about whether they wish to donate their organs in the event of their death, and highlight the importance of making family and friends aware of this decision.


For those who would like further information or decide they would like to add their name to the NHS Organ Donor Register, the BBC is providing a variety of routes, via telephone - on 0800 068 8456; via the web -; and via the interactive red button.


Notes to Editors


DoNation commissioned through BBC Learning is from Monday 22 to Saturday 27 August 2005. It features programming on BBC ONE, BBC National and Local Radio and a dedicated website at


BBC ONE broadcasts: Life On The List (Monday 22 - Friday 26 August, 7.00pm); DoNation: Kidney Transplant (Thursday 25 August, 9.00pm); and Casualty at Holby City - Interactive (Saturday 27 August, 8.20pm).


Survey conducted by TNS through a representative sample of 2,067 GB adults aged 16+. Research was carried out between 20 and 30 May 2005.


Survey Questions (where relevant, correct answer in bold):


Question One What is the main function of the kidneys?

a) Make insulin to control blood sugar;

b) Help regulate blood pressure;

c) Collect urine from bladder to purify it;

d) Help improve sex drive;

e) Purify blood by removing toxins into urine;

f) Don't know


Question Two Where in the body can a cornea be found?

a) Foot;

b) Stomach;

c) Ear drum;

d) Eye;

e) Chest cavity;

f) Don't know


Question Three If your life depended on it and it was medically possible, would you accept an animal organ?

a) Yes;

b) No;

c) Don't know


Question Four How many organ transplants (i.e. liver, kidney, heart, lung, pancreas) do you think were carried out in the UK last year?

a) 750;

b) 2,724;

c) 1,225;

d) 7,708;

e) 154;

f) Don't know


Question Five In terms of your own health/well-being, which organs/body parts are you most concerned about?

a) Lungs;

b) Liver;

c) Heart;

d) Pancreas;

e) Kidneys;

f) Don't know


Question Six In principle, are you in favour of or against organ donation?

a) Strongly in favour;

b) Slightly in favour;

c) Neither in favour or against;

d) Slightly against;

e) Strongly against


Question Seven Have you ever discussed the subject of donating your organs with anyone close to you?

a) Yes;

b) No;

c) Don't know


Question Eight Do you agree/disagree that there should be a change in the law to an opt-out system?

a) Agree;

b) Disagree;

c) Don't know


Question Nine Which of the following are reasons why you haven't joined the NHS Organ Donor Register?

a) Haven't really thought about it;

b) Like to but don't know how to join;

c) Like to but haven't got round to it;

d) Don't want my organs to be donated;

e) None of these;

f) Don't know


Question Ten If you don't want to donate your organs, which of these statements do you agree with?

a) Don't believe my organs are good enough (too old/unwell); b) Won't fight so hard to save me if I'm a donor;

c) Can't be sure I'll really be dead when my organs are taken; d) Would be tempting fate;

e) Don't want my body experimented on;

f) None of these;

g) Don't know




The results of this survey are also available in PDF format. You may need Adobe Acrobat software to read PDF files, which can be obtained free from the
Adobe Reader website

Tip to users: when in PDF files, use the "Zoom in" tool to magnify text


Category: Factual & Arts TV; TV Drama; BBCi

Date: 22.08.2005
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