Health Service Focus

06.02.20

NHS Blood and Transplant: Pass it on

Source: NHE Jan/Feb 20

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is continuing to ramp up its awareness campaign on the forthcoming law change around organ donation in England, targeting leaders and influencers in the NHS.

The new legislation – scheduled for spring 2020 – will see the introduction of an 'opt out' organ donation system in England. Unless adults choose to opt out, or are in an excluded group, it will be considered that they agree to be an organ donor when they die.

In addition to a comprehensive multi-channel awareness campaign, including television adverts featuring the ‘Pass It On’ message, NHSBT is calling on those inside the health system to play their part in raising awareness of the new law and the choices available to people.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said:

“There are more than 1.5million colleagues employed in the NHS, every one of whom is a potential advocate for spreading the vital message about the forthcoming change in the law and promoting the virtues of organ donation.

“We know many people don’t want to think about their own death. But patients waiting for a transplant depend on people of all ages thinking about whether they want to save lives when they die and registering their decision to become a donor.”

Mr Clarkson stressed the importance of decision-makers in increasing awareness around the new approach:

“From regional NHS directors, through to Chief Executives at Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups across England, we need NHS leaders to exert their influence and ensure this new, important, legislation is understood top-to-bottom within their respective organisations.”

To boost the awareness campaign, NHSBT has a made a whole host of free online resources available to download, including patient stories, myth-busting and law change animation films.

Mr Clarkson added: “We have dedicated resources that we are happy to share with partners in the NHS and wider health sector in order to promote these messages. I would urge colleagues to make use of these by contacting our team via ExternalAffairs@nhsbt.nhs.uk who will be happy to advise and assist.

Once the new law comes into practice, adults covered by the change will still have a choice whether they want to be an organ donor.

Those excluded will be people under 18, people who lack mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action, people who have lived in England for fewer than 12-months or who are not living here voluntarily

An Opt Out organ donation legislative system was introduced in Wales in December 2015.

People will be able to record their decision, whatever that may be, on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead, so it is important people share their decision with their family and closest friends to ensure that it is honoured.

Decisions can be recorded at www.organdonation.nhs.uk where there is also more information about the change in the law around organ donation.

 

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