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Communities urged to keep talking about organ donation two years on from law change in England

People are encouraged to keep having conversations about organ donation

People in Derbyshire and Staffordshire continue to be encouraged to have important conversations about their wishes regarding organ donation, two years on from the introduction of an opt-out system in England.

On this date in May 2020, the law changed and people in England are considered as willing to donate, unless they have opted out, are in one of the excluded groups or have told their family they don’t want to donate. Similar legislation was introduced in Wales in 2015 and Scotland also switched to an opt out system in March 2020.

Dr James Crampton, Interim Executive Medical Director at UHDB, said: “While the law change regarding organ donation was a hugely important milestone, it is still vital that we all share our wishes with our friends, families and those close to us. Regardless as to whether you have registered your wishes, your family will be approached to have a conversation about donating your organs, and it is much easier for everyone if these conversations have been had prior to when end of life care is being provided.

“At UHDB, we continue to work hard to encourage these conversations not just with our patients and communities, but among our hard working colleagues too. So please, leave your loved ones certain and have these conversations as soon as you can.”

Research shows that the biggest barrier to talking about organ donation is that it’s never come up in conversation with 34% of people stating this as their reason.

Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation at UHDB, Helen Hale, added: “Having these discussions at what is already a difficult time can often be hard to deal with, for us as healthcare colleagues and for the families involved. It really can’t be understated how important it is to have these conversations whenever you can. If the time comes, we know families find the organ donation conversation much easier if they already know what their relative wanted.”

Organ donation isn’t always the easiest topic to discuss, but here are some useful tips to try to start having those vital conversations:

  • Start by checking in first; ‘how are you doing?’ so you can gauge whether now is a good time
  • Choose a time when you’re not too distracted or when you’re sharing a space, or time with each other, maybe over a cup of tea or out walking
  • Perhaps there is something that prompts the conversation - passing a driving test, seeing our campaign TV advert, or an article in the paper
  • Open with ‘did you hear’ and not your own point of view; or use a hypothetical ‘how would you feel if…’
  • If faith is important to you, open with talking about what you know about your faith’s beliefs on giving
  • Acknowledge it’s a difficult subject and that you don’t have to agree

You can find out more about Organ Donation and how to register your wishes online (opens in new window) >

Alternatively, you can call: 0300 123 23 23.

Find out more about organ donation at UHDB >