Challenge set to sign the organ donor register

SAVE A LIFE Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is encouraging its staff to sign the donor register
SAVE A LIFE Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is encouraging its staff to sign the donor register

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A COMPETITION between medical staff and readers of The News to sign up to the organ donor register has been set by a hospital trust.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, wants to get 500 more of its staff to sign up this week.

The challenge has been set during National Transplant Week, which is run by NHS Blood and Transplant.

All week, members of NHSBT and hospital volunteers will be going around QA wards to talk to staff and give them information about organ donors and how to register.

The trust also hopes to see a one per cent increase in the number of people signing up in the Portsmouth area.

Currently, 31 per cent of the Portsmouth population has signed up to the organ donor register.

Director of nursing Julia Dawes said: ‘We’re proud to be supporting National Transplant Week, as many of our patients benefit from both live and deceased organ donations.

‘Without this generosity of the local population, many more people would die while waiting for an organ.’

There will be a stall giving more information all this week in the main atrium of QA, from 10am to 3pm.

And the way organ donation happens could change, after the Welsh government voted in an ‘opt-out’ system.

Last week, the Welsh government voted to introduce a system where people will be presumed to have consented for their organs to be donated after death, unless they have specifically objected.

It is due to come into effect in 2015. While no such plans are in place for England, the diocese of Portsmouth, can understand why the opt-out system could be beneficial.

Rev Dr Jenny Gaffin, who supports the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rev Christopher Foster, said: ‘The bishop appreciates the huge benefits brought about by transplants and recognises the challenges faced by those in need of organs are in short supply.

‘Though far from being an expert on this, he recognises there could ultimately be a need for some kind of “opt-out” system, but believes at this stage there is tremendous value in an “opt-in” system.

‘It enables people to reflect deeply on the matter, and to act from a place of real and abundant generosity.

‘He favours emphasis on informing people about the benefits of donation and hopes that resources can be given to extending publicity.’

GET INVOLVED

NATIONAL Transplant Week is the annual UK-wide awareness week to increase understanding of organ donation.

It aims to encourage more people to join the donor register.

In Fareham, 18 people are awaiting an organ, in Havant 12 people are on the waiting list, Gosport has 16 and Waterlooville has 15.

In Portsmouth 32 people are waiting for an organ.

The News is running special reports all this week to encourage more people to sign the organ donor register.

A video has been made by NHSBT to explain the importance of becoming a donor.

The annual awareness week is run by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

This year its theme is Pass It On.

According to NHSBT, 95 per cent of families agree to donation if a loved one has discussed their wishes and is registered.

But this drops to only 46 per cent when donation wishes aren’t known. To find out more call 0300 123 2323.