During Organ Donation Week, which begins on September 2, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Blood and Transplant are urging people to talk to their families about organ donation to increase the number of people whose lives can be saved or transformed by an organ transplant.
Next year, the law around organ donation is changing in England. From spring 2020, all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.
In the lead up to the change in law, NHS Blood and Transplant is urging families across England to talk about their organ donation decision, with the campaign message ‘Pass it on’.
Even after the law has changed, families will play a pivotal role in the donation conversation and will be spoken to before organ donation goes ahead.
A recent survey of adults in England for NHS Blood and Transplant found that while 84 per cent agreed it was important to let those closest to you know your views on organ donation, only 40 per cent had shared their organ donation decision with their family or partner.
More and more families in Hampshire are saying yes to organ donation, but there is still an urgent shortage of donors. Hampshire Hospitals, which runs hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, is asking people in the region to tell their families they want to donate to help make sure more lives are saved.
Hampshire Hospitals is supporting the campaign by hosting awareness events at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, and Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, throughout the week. Staff and patients will be able to talk to George Brann, the specialist nurse in organ donation who works within Hampshire Hospitals.
George will also be at The Winchester Guildhall on Tuesday September 3. The building in the heart of the city will be lit up pink every day during Organ Donation Week to remind people to have that important conversation with their loved ones.
George said: “We need more people in Hampshire to talk about organ donation to increase the number of lifesaving transplants.
“While most people agree that it is important to talk to their family about organ donation, it is less likely that they will have actually had this important conversation.
“In my role I am privileged to work with courageous families who are making this decision at a very difficult time. When something catastrophic happens, they think of others and support organ donation, and this incredible selfless act must never be underestimated.
“Families can often feel comforted by this and are proud of the gift of life that their loved one is giving – the opportunity for another person, even a complete stranger, to have a second chance at life.
“Sadly, many opportunities are lost every year because families don’t know if their loved one wanted to be a donor or not. Please don’t wait, speak to your family about organ donation today.”
Anthony Clarkson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are very grateful to Hampshire Hospitals for its support during Organ Donation Week.
“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 with nurses or medical teams much easier if they already know what their relative wanted.”
Find out more and register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family.