Potential organ donors are being asked to “spell out” their wishes to relatives in order to boost the number of transplants that are able to take place.
Just 45% of families agree to organ donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s decision to be a donor.
But this figure rises to 95% when they know the decision, according to figures released yesterday to mark this year’s National Transplant Week.
The aim of this year’s campaign is to get people to spell out their donation decision to increase awareness that families will be asked to agree to organ donation.
As ever, the annual event also hopes to encourage more people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.
NHS Blood and Transplant has enlisted the support of well-known faces to highlight the importance of telling family and friends about donation decisions.
TV presenter and former model Katie Piper, former gymnast Beth Tweddle, actor David Harewood, TV presenter Ruth Langsford and actor Wil Johnson all appear in images that spell out their donation wishes and urge the public to do the same.
Also pledging their support to the campaign are Dr Hilary Jones and Dr Ellie Cannon, two GPs who regularly contribute views and opinion to TV and print media.
Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant’s director of organ donation and transplantation, said: “We know that families are much less likely to allow organ donation to go ahead if they don’t know if it’s what their loved one wanted.
“Tell those closest to you that you want to donate your organs after you die to help some of the 10,000 people in the UK currently in need of a life changing organ transplant,” she added.
Meanwhile, an organ donation nurse in the North West is doing her bit to promote awareness by answering questions in a live Twitter session hosted by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.
Organ donation specialist nurse Sarah Ralley said she had “no magical words” for bereaved families but she could offer them the chance to know they gave life to others.
She is part of the 30-strong team of specialist organ donation nurses at NHS Blood and Transplant and is the Morecambe Bay trust’s link with the team.
Sarah will be answering questions about her work in a live Q&A on the trust’s Twitter site on Thursday 10 July, from 12pm to 1pm – using @uhmbt and #GiveLifeQA.