This Organ Donation Week (20 to 26 September) NHS Blood and Transplant and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are calling on people to talk to their families about organ donation and leave them certain about their decision.
More than 359,000 people in the North West are currently on the NHS Organ Donor Register which represents 36% of the population. However, people need to tell their family to help ensure their family supports their decision if they are approached about organ donation by a specialist nurse in hospital.
The law around organ donation changed in England in May 2020 and all adults are now considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die, unless they record a decision not to donate, are in one of the excluded groups or have told their family that they don’t want to donate.
However, relatives will always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead, and each year opportunities for transplants are missed because families aren’t sure what to do.
This year, organ donation has also been added to the National Curriculum in schools for the first time, so that family members, whatever their age, are being encouraged to get together to talk about their own organ donation decisions.
Dr Jason Cupitt, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said: “Knowing what your relative wanted helps families support their loved one’s decision around organ donation at what is often a difficult time.
“We need more people in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to talk with their families and friends about organ donation to give them the certainty they need to support their organ donation decision.”
This week, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals is supporting the campaign by sharing information and a touch patient story. It is asking people across the area to tell their families that they want to donate their organs after their death to ensure more lives are saved.
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are very grateful to Blackpool Teaching Hospitals for its support during Organ Donation Week.
“Even though the law has changed, families will continue to be approached before organ donation goes ahead. It remains so important to talk to your families and ensure they know what you would want to happen.
“Register your organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and tell your family the choice you have made. If the time comes, we know families find the organ donation conversation much easier if they already know what their relative wanted.”
To find out more and register your decision, visit the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family. Users of the NHS app, can also use this to record, check or amend their details or decision.