CWU National Organ Donation Campaign – Government Publish Response to Organ Donation Consultation:
To: All Branches
Motion 85 was carried at CWU Conference in 2011 and CWU has been supporting Organ Donation Week ever since as well as campaigning to raise awareness of the need for more organ and blood donors. In 2016 the TUC Congress carried Motion 47 on the subject of Organ
Donation and called for the TUC and Trade Unions to campaign to increase the number of organ donors. The Motion was carried with CWU Support.
Letters to CWU Branches and Regions have been issued annually by the Health, Safety & Environment Department as well as distributing materials and resources to our Branches, Regions and Officers and Reps across the UK as well as CWU Voice coverage and the Union has challenged CWU Reps to sign up to be an organ donor/blood donor and get other Reps and members to sign up.
The CWU signed up to a campaign partnership with NHSBT (NHS Blood & Transplant) in 2016 and NHSBT (NHS Blood and Transplant) issued a statement to the effect that it was pleased to be working with the Communications Workers Union, one of the UK’s major Trade Unions that takes the health, safety and wellbeing of its large membership and families very seriously and places such matters high on the agenda.
The Union has also worked jointly with employers to run joint health awareness campaigns of which organ and blood donation is included through their campaigns.
The CWU Health and Safety Department has additionally concentrated campaigning efforts to spread the message of donation across the Union, seeking to promote blood and organ donation amongst its Black and Asian members where only 1.4% of those on the Organ Donation Register are from these communities.
This week the Government published its response to the Organ Donation Consultation which took place in England between December 2017 and March 2018 and which the CWU engaged with.
The Government is proposing the introduction in England of a new system (commonly known as ‘deemed consent’ or ‘opt-out’) in which everybody would be considered as a potential organ donor unless they have either added their details to the NHS Organ Donor Register to opt out of donation or are in one of the groups excluded within the legislation. A similar system came into force in Wales in December 2015.
The Government believes that this new legislation will support more organ donors and help to save the lives of more people on the Transplant Waiting List. As ever the NHSBT (NHS Blood & Transplant) role is to support whatever legislation is in place and to work to make the Government’s ambition a reality. However as with any legislative change this will take some time to come into legal effect. The Government estimate is that the new law will commence in Spring 2020. NHS Blood and Transplant will be working closely with the Government to ensure that the changes are implemented successfully.
NHSBT (NHS Blood & Transplant) has written to the Union expressing its thanks for the support of the CWU stating “Your organisation has contributed significantly in the past by helping to promote the benefits of organ donation with us.”
NHSBT (NHS Blood & Transplant) have additionally stated that it is going to be very important that people living across the country understand how the system is going to change in England and that people continue to share their decision about organ donation with their family. They have asked the CWU to continue to support their work by helping to educate and inform our members about organ donation and by encouraging them to talk to their family about donation.
In fact, this year’s Organ Donation Week is coming up soon – it’s taking place from 3rd to 9th September and the CWU will be supporting the week again. NHSBT (NHS Blood & Transplant) have asked us to help encourage people to talk to their families about organ donation during the week. We will be circulating further details and materials and assets in due course once available.
NHSBT (NHS Blood & Transplant) concluded their message to the CWU stating that together we can ensure that as many people as possible, who want to be organ donors and who die in the circumstances where donation can be considered, can save the lives of patients across the UK in need of a transplant.
Branches, Regions and members will no doubt welcome the Government’s decision and I’m pleased to be able to communicate it to you.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer