Appeal for potential donors to inform families about their wishes.
On 20 May 2020, the law changed, and you are now you required to opt out of organ donation. During Organ Donation Week, 7th-13th September, the local NHS is asking people to register and talk to their family about their decision. If your wishes are not known, your family can choose to opt out on your behalf.
Keira Ball tragically passed away in the summer of 2017 and her donation was the inspiration for Max and Keira’s Law and now people are required to opt out of organ donation.
The local NHS is supporting the NHS Blood and Transplant campaign to raise awareness about the change in law. They want to inspire families to talk to each other about organ donation, encourage more people to register and to help save lives. Being a registered organ donor, and by having those conversations about your wishes, will help support your family in not having to make the difficult decision on your behalf.
The Organ Donation Act means adults in England will be considered as potential donors unless they chose to opt-out, a family member declines on their behalf or if they are not in an excluded group. The new law will help reduce the number of people waiting for a life-saving transplant.
There are currently 3,815 people waiting for an organ transplant in the UK, and since April 2020, 1,020 people have successfully received a transplant. Figures show 31% of people waiting for a transplant are from black, Asian or ethnic minority communities.
There are still choices about whether you wish to become a donor, and your faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected. To help you decide, get the facts about organ donation. Speaking to family members about your wishes and decisions is very important, it can be a lifesaving decision.
Dr Ian Sykes, local GP and chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “At what is already an extremely difficult and emotional time, too often, families are having to make significant choices on their loved ones’ behalf. This week, during organ donation week, take the opportunity to talk to your family, be open about your wishes and decision.
“By registering on the organ donation register you can help save lives and give the recipient and their family a second chance. By registering yes, you are giving the gift of life. Talk to your family and register your decision today.”
Up until 9 April 2020, before the law changed, there has been a decline in the number of transplants. According to NHS Blood and Transplant, the activity figures for organ transplants show there was a 4.8% decline in the UK. For organ donation the report shows a very little increase with less than a 0.5% increase and for a living donor, there is a slight increase of 1.2%. Figures are compared to the same period from the previous year.
Dr Sykes added: “From the latest activity report from NHS Blood and Transplant it is evident why the law needed to change to ‘opt-out’ for organ donation. Three people die each day while on the waiting list. The new law will help to reduce the number of people waiting for a life-saving transplant.”
Millions of people are already on the NHS Organ Donor register, so please join them today and tell your family you want to save lives. Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.