THE MPs for North and South Swindon have come together to urge their constituents to talk to their families about the issue of organ donation.

Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland marked Organ Donation Week by backing calls to bring an important issue more out into the open.

An impressive 82,686 people in Swindon are on the NHS Organ Donor Register but hundreds of lifesaving transplants are being missed here and around the country every year because families don’t know what their relative wanted.

Being on the register is not enough - your family still need to know.

Last week, NHS Blood and Transplant, hospitals, charities and supporters of organ donation stepped up their efforts to encourage people across the UK to talk about organ donation with their relatives and friends.

Reflecting on their message, South Swindon's Robert Buckland said: “I’m proud to support this lifesaving appeal and it’s really easy for everyone to take part – just have a chat.”

His North Swindon counterpart, Justin Tomlinson, added: “If you want to be a donor, your family’s agreement is still needed for donation to go ahead, even if you are on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

"It is worth having a chat next time you sit down for a meal, when you are shopping or working, or when you are just driving in the car.”

Campaigners say that while the initial conversation in the hours after a relative's death may be hard, knowing that their loved one has given another person the chance of a new beginning is immensely rewarding.

Fiona Loud, Policy Director of Kidney Care UK, said: “At least one person dies every single day whilst waiting for a kidney transplant and of the 82,686 people on the waiting list in Swindon, around 90 per cent of them are waiting for a kidney.

"You are more likely to need a transplant than to be a donor so please, just take a few minutes to have a think about what you would do if you needed a transplant, and have that life-saving chat with your family so they know your wishes.”

Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, added: “We are really grateful to both Justin and Robert for their support because hundreds of lives are being lost every year.

“Tell your family you want to save lives. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference."

There is a particular need for more black and Asian people to talk about donation. Patients from ethnic minority communities make up 29 per cent of the national transplant waiting list but people from these communities are less likely to agree to donate. Organs from people from the same ethnic background are more likely to be a close match and give the best chance of a positive outcome.