Great Ormond Street Hospital is backing a new NHS campaign to encourage more of us to register as an organ donor. Grerat Ormond Street Hospital sees every day the benefits organ donation can bring as the largest centre for children's heart transplant in the world and the largest kidney transplant centre for children in the UK.
First UK-wide multimedia organ donation campaign rolls out today
As the first multimedia campaign to promote organ donation rolls out across the UK today, new research reveals the gap between what we would take and what we are prepared to give. While 96% of us would accept an organ if we needed one, only 27% of us have the joined the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR).
Many of us (45%) have the best intentions to sign up to the ODR and commit to donate our organs for transplantation after our death, but just haven't got round to it.
While some people are still unclear about how to register, a significant proportion of us (17%) are ready to act now. A further 19% need to involve their family in the decision. Research also shows a disparity between those who think they've already signed up to be an organ donor - 35% as compared with the actual figure of 27% (16.5 million) on the ODR.
The campaign aims to increase significantly the number of people on the ODR, asking what we would do if someone we love needed an organ: if we would accept an organ, shouldn't we be prepared to give one?
The gap highlighted by organ donation is mirrored by similar findings which show that it's not just the big things we're prepared to take without returning the favour. Over half of us (55%) would accept a lift without offering one in return; half (50%) would borrow books, but haven't lent their own. This lack of reciprocity is echoed in our daily life, where we intend to follow through on our best intentions without getting round to it: 22% of us intend to volunteer, go to the gym (37%) and go on a diet
(24%), but haven't done so yet.
More than 10,000 people in the UK currently need a transplant. Of these, over
1,000 - on average 3 a day - die every year before they receive an organ.
Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "Many people have told us that they just need a nudge to motivate them to join the Organ Donor Register and commit to helping someone live after their death. By focusing on the gap between the number of us who say we would accept an organ if we needed one and the number who have actually joined the Register, our campaign highlights the urgent need for those who believe in organ donation to act now.
"More transplants were carried out last year than ever before, but the need for organs never stops. If you believe in organ donation, please register today and let those closest to you know that you have done so."
Welcoming the campaign, Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: "Each year, organ donors transform the lives of thousands of people. But despite this, three people die every day while waiting for a transplant. More people are signing up to the Organ Donor Register than ever before, but many more are needed.
"Most of us support organ donation and the overwhelming majority would take an organ if we needed it. I would urge everybody who supports organ donation to show it by signing up to the Organ Donor Register and discussing their wishes with their families."
Kieran Sandwell, who received a heart transplant in July 2009, having waited for over a year, said: "Receiving a heart made the difference between life and death for me. I believe that if you would be willing to take an organ, you should join the Organ Donor Register. Please - do it today."
If you believe in organ donation, prove it
Register now at organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23
For further information, please contact Hannah Berry on 020 7815 3928 or Hannah.Berry@munroforster.com
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