Southampton public urged to 'leave families certain' for organ donation week
This Organ Donation Week (20 to 26 September) NHS Blood and Transplant and University Hospital Southampton are calling on people to talk to their families about organ donation and leave them certain about their decision.
Around 93,000 people in Southampton are already on the NHS Organ Donor Register. 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 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.
Caitlin Hindle, Specialist Nurse – Organ Donation is part of the team at UHS who supported 38 families through organ donation last year, saving the lives of more than 100 people. She said:
“Knowing what your relative wanted, helps families support their decision around organ donation at what is often a difficult time.
“We need more people in Southampton 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, however, often wait longer as the best chance of a match will often come from someone of the same ethnicity.”
University Hospital Southampton (UHS) is planning activity in the coming weeks to support the campaign through cups of coffee. Outlets in the hospital have pledged to support organ and tissue donation by using ‘leave them certain’ campaign materials.
UHS 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. A tribute to the families of donors who had made the decision to donate was installed last year. Entitled the Gift of Life, the piece also raises awareness of the importance of having conversations with relatives and those closest to you. Pictured above are David Thomson and Rachel Clare, specialist organ donation nurses with some of the artwork.
Helen Coundley, Specialist Nurse – Organ Donation added: “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.”
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We are very grateful to University Hospital Southampton 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.