This Organ Donation Week (Monday 20 to Sunday 26 September) NHS Blood and Transplant and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are calling on people to talk to their families about organ donation and leave them certain about their decision.
Around 818,000 people in Hampshire are already on the NHS Organ Donor Register. However, many don’t tell their family which can lead to them not supporting their loved ones wishes and missed donations in hospitals.
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 still 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 for the first time, so family members, whatever their age, are being encouraged to get together to talk about their own organ donation decisions.
Steve Erskine, chairman at Hampshire Hospitals said: “Knowing what your relative wanted helps families support their decision around organ donation at what is often a difficult time.
“We would like more people in Hampshire to talk with their loved ones about organ donation to give them the certainty they need to support their organ donation decision.
“These conversations are especially important for local residents from Black and Asian backgrounds. People from these communities are more likely to need a transplant but they can wait longer as the best chance of a match will often come from someone of the same ethnicity.”
Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, are now asking people across the area to tell their families that they want to donate after their death to ensure more lives are saved.
George Brann, specialist nurse organ donation said: “We need more people in Hampshire to talk about organ donation to increase the number of lifesaving transplants.
“Your loved ones will still always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead. Please don’t wait. Speak to your family about organ donation and let them know your decision today.
To raise awareness for organ donation and to celebrate Organ Donation Week, George is running around the track on board his cruise ship, whilst on holiday around the coast of the UK – One lap for every donor. Keep up with George’s progress throughout the week on HHFT’s Twitter page.
To learn more, visit George’s JustGiving page, where he is aiming to raise money for Hampshire Hospitals Charity (Reg. 1060133) to the benefit of the organ donation work at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We are very grateful for Hampshire Hospitals for its support during Organ Donation Week.
“Even now 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.