Kettering General Hospital is looking for local people to join its organ donation committee.
During national Organ Donation Week (September 2 to 8) the trust is actively searching for local supporters in advance of a major change which – from spring 2020 – will mean that people over 18 will have to opt out of organ donation rather than opt in.
Nationally, and locally, there remains a shortage of organ donors. In 2018-19, nationally, 400 people died whilst waiting for a transplant. A further 777 were removed from the transplant list
due to deteriorating health – and many of these would have died shortly afterwards.
Currently more than 6,000 people across the country are still waiting for a transplant. At KGH last year seven families agreed to the donation of their loved ones organs helping 22 people who needed organ donation.
Yesterday an awareness stand was in the hospital's main reception and KGH's specialist nurse for organ donation, Linda Knighton, said: “Nationally there is a big change coming early next year from opting in to organ donation to opting out.
“This makes it even more important that people talk to their loved ones about organ donation and make it clear what their wishes would be.
“At KGH we are also seeking to strengthen and re-launch our own organ donation committee ahead of these changes and very much welcome any local people who would like to support us by joining the committee.
“We are looking for representatives from all sections of society and ethnic groups.
“The committee will meet once every three months and look at ways of supporting organ donation through the local community, and within the hospital itself – particularly during this period of national transformation.”
KGH’s organ committee chair, Shirley Newman, said: “We are looking for enthusiastic local people who understand the importance of organ donation and how it can transform the lives of people with serious illnesses.
“One aim of our committee is to develop awareness work within the hospital which encourages staff to identify and support families who may wish to make donations on the death of a loved one.
“We provide direction and expertise to ensure that the organ donation process at KGH is well managed and allows staff to fulfil the wishes of patients and their families.
“We also work with our local community to improve people’s understanding of organ donation and its importance.”
From Spring 2020 England will be joining many other countries by making organ donation an opt out choice rather than an opt in one. More details on this will follow in the autumn.
It is hoped that this will increase the availability of potential donors across the UK. It also means that it is even more important that individuals make their families aware of their wishes in the event of their unexpected death. Families will still be asked to give permission for donation under the new changes.
The changes will affect everyone over the age of 18 – with a few exceptions, such as individuals who have not been resident in the UK for less than 12 months. If you support organ onation and have not already signed up to the national register you can do this easily with a phone call to 0300 123 23 23 or by going online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.