This Organ Donation Week (20th to 26th September) NHS Blood and Transplant and North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust (North Mid) are calling on people to talk to their families about organ donation and leave them certain about their decision.
Around 150,000 people in Enfield and Haringey are already on the NHS Organ Donor Register. However, people need to talk to their loved ones to 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 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.
Vikki Howarth, clinical lead for organ donation at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Knowing what your relative wanted, helps families support their decision around organ donation at what is often a difficult time.
“Around one in 100 people who die can donate their organs for transplantation, therefore it is important we have these conversations to maximise the life-saving impact this can have on those who need it most. We need more people in our community to talk with their loved ones about organ donation to give them the certainty they need to support their decision.”
This week, North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust is supporting the campaign through a number of different channels including social media and raising awareness amongst patients.
Vikki added: “These conversations are especially important for local residents from Black and Asian backgrounds. People from these communities are more likely to need a transplant, however, often wait longer as the best chance of a match will often come from someone of the same ethnicity.”
North Mid is now asking people across the area to tell their families that they want to donate 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 North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust 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.