An NHS roadshow takes to the streets of Sheffield this week to call on people to prove their support for organ donation and join the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR). The travelling roadshow is part of a UK-wide campaign to close the gap between the number of people who say they’d be willing to accept an organ if they needed one – 96% - and those who have pledged to donate by joining the ODR, currently 27%.
New research from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) shows a divide between those who think they have already signed up to be an organ donor and those who are actually registered. In Sheffield, a recent NHSBT survey revealed that 34% of people think they are on the ODR whereas the actual proportion is 26%.
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHSBT, said: “We believe there is some confusion around whether people are signed up to become an organ donor. Many people believe that they are signed up to the ODR because they already carry a donor card but to be on the register, you must sign up online or complete an application form”.
“Carrying a donor card is great but on its own can get lost or damaged. The best way to record your wishes is to sign up to the ODR and then to discuss your decision with those close to you.
“This roadshow deliberately challenges people to consider what they would do if they needed an organ and asks that if they would accept one, shouldn’t they prepared to give one themselves? If you believe in organ donation or want to find out more about it, please come down to Fargate on Friday to learn more.”
The original kidney donor card was launched back in the 1970s as a stand-alone system for expressing people’s organ donation wishes. The NHS Organ Donor Register followed in October 1994, providing a central place for everyone’s wishes to be stored.
There are more than 10,000 people who need an organ transplant in the UK and of these, around 1,000 – an average of three a day – die every year before they receive an organ.
Currently, 933 people are waiting for an organ transplant in Yorkshire & the Humber and last year (April 2008-March 2009) 600 organ transplants took place. Fifty three people in Yorkshire & the Humber died last year while waiting for a donor.
Following the campaign launch in November 2009, sign-ups to the ODR online and via phone increased by 380% compared to November 2008.
Christian Brailsford, Donor Transplant Co-ordinator from Sheffield said: “This is your chance to make a real difference. The Organ Donor Register saves the lives of people every day. More transplants were carried out last year than ever before, but the need for organs never stops. None of us can be sure whether we will ever need a transplant ourselves, but we can give hope to the 10,000 people currently in need of an organ by joining the Organ Donor Register.”
Dawn Hartshawn from Sheffield, who received a kidney from her sister in November, said: “Receiving a kidney gave me back my quality of life. I’ll always be grateful to my sister who gave me a second chance. I urge everyone in Sheffield to come along and sign up to the Organ Donor Register and make their wishes known.”
The roadshow which is visiting 20 towns and cities across the UK, will give the public the chance to sign up to the ODR, pick up general information about organ donation, and discuss donation with a variety of staff including specialist donor care nurses.
Please visit the NHS Blood and Transplant team in Fargate on Friday 29th January between 9am and 5pm.