Agenda item

Organ Donation

This report provides an overview to organ donation in the UK including the work of NHS Blood and Transplant, the change in organ donation consent law in England and a new national 10-year strategy, “meeting the need”, which has been launched to build on the successes of the past and deliver further improvements.




The Clinical Leader for Organ Donation (CLOD) and the Chair of Organ and Tissue Donation Committee (COTDC) of the Medway NHS Foundation Trust gave a brief overview of organ and tissue donation, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on organ donation. They also provided an update on the law change in relation to organ donation and the need to promote organ donation in black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.


Opportunities to indicate consent to donate organs reference was made to the number of ways in which people could indicate their consent or otherwise to donate organs. It was suggested that better use could be made of opportunities to raise awareness, for example when people were applying for a driving licence. A board member urged the Medway Council to help identify local opportunities to promote donation, for example, during electoral registration. He suggested steps should be taken to improve donation through all possible means. This action was supported by another board member who shared his personal experience of signing up to become an organ donor.


In response, the COTDC highlighted that there were many potential opportunities to increase the number of people consenting to donation. This included through primary care, when GPs had routine consultations with patients. The COTDC reiterated that an important part of this process was to ensure consenting parties discussed their wishes with family members.  The CLOD added that a huge amount of publicity work, which aimed to promote the organ donation consent law change in England, had been shelved due to the pandemic. It would be encouraging to see more promotion work done locally.


In response to a request, the CLOD agreed to forward the relevant link under the NHS Blood and Transplant website that detailed how people could become organ donors. There was a suggestion that hyperlinks to the relevant pages might be set up on the Council’s website for people to register as organ/tissue donors. 


Age limit for organ and tissue donation – in reply to a question on age limit, the CLOD advised that there was no age limit to become a donor for certain organs and the potential to become a tissue donor was higher than becoming an organ donor.


Education a suggestion was made that similar presentations on organ donation be delivered to the Medway Education Partnership whereby all school heads and Educational Trust leaders would be invited to attend.  The COTDC expressed appreciation for such an opportunity which she and the CLOD would be pleased to attend.  Following a question as to whether hosting briefing sessions in places of worship had been considered, the COTDC advised that they had presented at the Medway Diversity Forum which gave access to a wide forum of people from the BAME groups. It was accepted that although some of these communities/groups were very supportive and would disseminate information on organ donation, it might help to increase the number of donors if there were local community champions advocating donation within them.




The Health and Wellbeing Board:


a)    noted the progress of organ donation in the UK; and

b)    agreed to use appropriate opportunities to publicise this particular initiative.

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