Organ Donation Week runs from 3 to 9 September 2018 and its purpose is to raise awareness of the need for people to talk about organ donation with their family so that their wishes can be supported by their family upon their death.
According to NHS Blood and Transplant 6,000 people across the UK are waiting for an organ transplant and only 1 in 100 people across the UK die in circumstances where their organs can be considered for transplantation. Sadly around three people die every day in need of a life-saving organ transplant.
England currently has an ‘opt in’ system meaning that to donate your organs you must either have registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register as willing to donate your organs, or your family can agree to consent to donation upon your death. Wales has an ‘opt out’ system meaning that adults in Wales are presumed to have consented to organ donation unless they have registered to opt out.
If you wish to be a donor it is important to make your family aware so that they can support your decision as if they do not agree to donation then in practice the organs cannot be donated even if you are on the register.
If you are not registered as a donor your family can also consent to organ donation but this decision, in an extremely distressing time, will be made easier if they understand if you wished to be an organ donor.
NHS Blood and Transplant report that more than 500 families have refused donation since 1 April 2010 despite knowing or being informed their relative was on the NHS Organ Donor Register. It is estimated that 1,200 people have as a result missed out on a potentially life saving transplant.
As part of Organ Donation Week we are encouraging people to share their decision on organ donation with their loved ones so that their wishes can be supported and carried out by their families and so that those in desperate need can be given the opportunity of a potentially life-saving transplant.
If you wish to be an organ donor you can give consent to organ donation by joining the NHS Organ Donation Register