NHSBT National Organ Donation Week – 26th September – 2nd October 2022

NHSBT National Organ Donation Week – 26th September – 2nd October 2022:

Once again this year the CWU will be supporting the NHSBT (NHS Blood and Transplant) National Organ Donation Week.

The aim of the week is to ensure that the overwhelming public support for organ donation continues to grow and the NHS has more organs made available for transplants, so saving more lives.

NHS Blood and Transplant supports any initiative which leads to more organ donors and more lives being saved.

The NHSBT National Organ Donation Week – 26th September – 2nd Octoberprovides an excellent opportunity to support the campaign to continue to build the national conversation, awareness and support for organ donation, helping to make it a normal and expected part of end of life care.

Every day the nation needs donors to help those in desperate need of a transplant. As of the end of March 2022, there were 6,269 patients waiting for a transplant, and last year, 429 patients died while on the transplant list. 

Please help trigger conversations about organ donation, whether that’s by talking to others about donation, sharing content on social media or including information on organ donation in your branches, workplaces, communities and amongst families, friends and colleagues.

NHSBT see the CWU as a valued partner and they need our ongoing support to help us promote the positive nature of organ donation and to reiterate the message that we support organ donation and want more people to act today by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and telling their family they want to donate. NHSBT know from those that have supported organ donation that these conversations make it easier for grieving families at a difficult time.

Further information is available at the following NHSBT Website link:https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/get-involved/organ-donation-campaigns/

The Organ Donation Law Across The UK and Crown Dependencies: 

In recent years the CWU through is strongly positive Conference Policy has supported changes to organ donation law across the UK and crown dependencies, in fact in all locations where CWU members work. Although the law on organ donation has changed significantly over the last seven years with England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey changing the law to an ‘opt-out’ system and Northern Ireland, Guernsey and the Isle of Mann due to move to ‘opt-out, in 2023, individuals registering their wishes to be an organ donor makes it easier for grieving families at a difficult time.

Here’s an update on the organ donor laws across the UK and crown dependencies:


On 20 May 2020, the law around organ donation in England was changed to allow more people’s lives to be saved. The law introduced a system commonly called ‘opt-out’ or ‘deemed consent’. All adults over 18 in England are now considered to have agreed to be an organ and tissue donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate and they have ‘opted out’ or are in one of the excluded groups.


Wales led the way and on 1 December 2015 the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 came into full effect, making Wales the first country in the UK to introduce ‘opt-out’ or ‘deemed consent’ legislation, meaning that if you haven’t registered an organ and tissue donation decision, people will be considered to have no objection to becoming an organ and tissue donor after death.


The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Act 2019 was passed by the Scottish Parliament in July 2019. The legislation provides for a ‘deemed authorisation’ or an ‘opt out’ system of organs and tissue donation for transplantation. The system came into effect on 26 March 2021.

Northern Ireland 

On 30 March 2022 the Organ and Tissue Donation (Deemed Consent) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 received royal assent. Therefore, from spring 2023, the law around organ and tissue donation in Northern Ireland will move to an ‘opt-out’ system from the current ‘opt-in’. This will mean that in the event that organ donation is a possibility after you die, it will be considered that individuals agree to being an organ donor unless you choose to opt-out or are in an excluded group. The new law will be known as ‘Dáithí’s Law’ in recognition of five-year-old Dáithí MacGabhann who has been on the waiting list for a heart transplant since 2018.


In April 2018 the Jersey States Assembly passed legislation that saw the island move towards a deemed consent, ‘opt out’ system as in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The new legislation took effect on 1st July 2019.


Guernsey’s Human Tissue and Transplantation (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Legislation was enacted in May 2020, which will introduce a ‘deemed consent’ or ‘opt-out’ system with the new law set to come into force on 1 January 2023, which will mean that if you haven’t recorded a decision about organ donation and you are not in an excluded group, you will be presumed to be in favour of organ and tissue donation.

Isle of Man

In October 2020, Members of the House of Keys unanimously backed the second reading of the Human Tissue and Organ Donation Bill 2020. On 20 July 2021, the Bill received Royal Assent to become an Act, moving the island one step closer to an ‘opt-out’ led approach to organ donation consent. Planning is underway to implement the new law, which will not come into force until a commencement date has been set. The Isle of Man will continue to operate an ‘opt-in’ consent system until such time and the date for the new law to come into force has been set but is expected to be in 2023.

NHSBT Organ Donation Week Key Focus and Campaign Guide:

For Organ Donation Week the NHSBT have said their ‘Leave Them Certain‘ campaign will be the main focus of the week. This campaign aims to encourage people to talk to their loved ones about organ donation through highlighting that families are always involved before organ donation goes ahead – encouraging families to have the conversation and leave their loved ones certain about their organ donation wishes after death.

Further information can be found in the NHSBT Organ Donation Campaign Guide.  The guide includes:

  • The recording of the NHSBT campaign briefing session
  • Top tips on engaging with schools, including links to the resources and letter template
  • How to get involved in the Heart Walk
  • A guide for lighting up pink
  • Key messages
  • Resources – including how to create a QR code to measure your activity

The campaign guide is available at the following NHSBT Website link: – https://sway.office.com/e9lnib4bbFV5Cjbk?ref=Link

Other NHSBT resources are also available at this Webpage link: –https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/get-involved/download-digital-materials/

NHSBT Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Strategy (‘Organ Donation and Transplantation 2030: Meeting the Need’)

Recently published by NHSBT is the new ten‑year vision strategy for organ donation and transplantation in the United Kingdom. The Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation strategy combines the focus of previous strategies and sets out a ten-year vision for deceased and living donation and transplantation in the UK. It outlines the key areas that need to be addressed as the UK continues to save and improve more lives through organ donation and transplantation after 2020. It also sets out the actions to support and maximise the potential for living donation, as well as focusing on areas for research and innovation.

The strategy reports that the last decade has seen significant progress in organ donation and transplantation in the UK, during which deceased organ donation rates have increased by 56%. Through the selflessness of organ donors and their families, combined with the generosity of living donors 56,000 patients are currently alive with a functioning transplant. These incredible achievements were made possible through the NHS and a commitment to deliver improvements.

There are still thousands on the transplant waiting list, and lives are lost every day, due to a lack of available organs. Organ Donation and Transplantation: Meeting the Need sets out the strategy for the next 10 years, to build on the successes of the past and deliver further improvements. The strategy will only be a success if it supports and benefits everyone in need of a transplant.

Whilst progress has been made, an unacceptably large number of people from a Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background still spend far too long on the transplant waiting list because of a lack of suitable organs. The strategy aims to do more to engage with the diverse populations across the UK, empowering them to lead the promotion of living and deceased organ donation.

One of the key foundations for Meeting the Need is the strength of the public support for organ donation. To reflect this support, four of the Governments in the UK and Crown dependencies have already changed the law on consent or authorisation for deceased donation to one of ‘opt out’, rather than ‘opt in’ with the other three due to follow in 2023. The anticipation is that these law changes could lead to hundreds of additional lives saved or improved every year, through increasing the number of organs available for transplantation.

The challenge for the coming years is to make sure that the transplant service can keep pace with this increase. This strategy therefore sets out the aims to ensure that every organ that can be safely transplanted is used to save or improve someone’s life. It also sets out the actions to support and maximise the potential for living donation, which is vital for ensuring that as many people as possible receive the transplant they need.

Research and innovation are vital components of this strategy. The UK is a pioneer in developing and adopting new techniques and technology in donation and transplantation and will continue to look to the future and lead the way, so that the benefits of this strategy will be felt well beyond the next decade. The improvements of the last ten years have taken commitment, passion and hard work to deliver. There is no sign of this dedication to delivering improvements wavering. The actions set out in this strategy are ambitious, but through continuing to work together, even more lives will be saved every year through the gift of organ donation.

A copy of the Strategy Report (‘Organ Donation and Transplantation 2030: Meeting the Need’) is attached.

NHSBT Organ Donation and Transplantation Strategy Webinar Recordings

Following the publication of the ‘NHSBT Organ Donation and Transplantation Strategy’, a series of webinars were organised in July to explain the strategy. The webinars also covered the Transplant Activity Report (TAR) and its headline figures.

The three webinars covered three areas and were:

  • New NHSBT Strategy Webinar – This webinar focused on the transplantation aspects of the 2030 strategy covering the vision for: living and deceased donor transplantation, organ utilisation, recipient outcomes and research and innovation.
  • Deceased Donation Webinar – This webinar covered the current situation of deceased donation, the hopes for the next 10 years, and maximising donation potential.
  • Stakeholders and Partners Webinar – This webinar is an introduction to the new 2030 strategy for all of the NHSBT’s charity sector and organisational partners. It gave an overview of current UK donation and transplantation trends and focus on NHSBT’s priorities for the coming 10 years.

The Webinar recordings can be accessed and watched at the following link: https://sway.office.com/89ZSxxVy1r5DDGBb?ref=email

Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Minority Ethnic Transplant Activity Report

On the 19th of August, a new report was published by NHS Blood and Transplant that showed the impact of Covid-19 on organ donation and transplantation amongst Black, Asian and Mixed Race and Minority Ethnic patients, and in particular the effects of a reduction in living donation.

NHSBT have published this supplementary report on the Organ Donation Website alongside the Transplant Activity Report, published earlier this year. The report outlines how the pandemic has had a significant impact on the numbers of living donor kidney transplants that could be performed, and as a result, the number of life-changing transplants, able to take place.

While 444 patients were able to receive a transplant from a living donor over the year – an extraordinary achievement in the midst of a pandemic – this was still a drop of 58% compared to the previous year.

NHSBT ran a webinar that covered:

  • An overview of the key stats from the report, a reflection of the activity delivered over the last year to engage diverse audiences.
  • NHSBT approach for the year ahead.
  • An overview of NHSBT community investment scheme for living donation.

The Webinar recordings can be accessed at the following link: – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1m7zHFO0utGbU1LV1UCayN15wDtZYdQKm/view

A copy of the NHSBT Organ and Transplantation data for Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities Report for 2020/21 is attached.

Becoming a Living Organ Donor

  • Donating a kidney

Across the UK, more than 1,000 people each year donate a kidney or part of their liver while they are still alive to a relative, friend or someone they do not know.  The most commonly donated organ by a living person is a kidney. A healthy person can lead a normal life with only one functioning kidney and therefore they are able to donate the other to help someone in need of a kidney transplant. Kidneys are the most commonly donated organs by living people, and about a third of all kidney transplants carried out in the UK are from living donors.  In the UK living kidney transplants have been performed since 1960 and currently around 1,100 such operations are performed each year, with a very high success rate. A kidney transplant can transform the life of someone with kidney disease.

  • Donating part of your liver

Part of a liver can also be transplanted from a living donor to help someone in need. Living donor liver transplantation has been successfully performed in the UK since 1995. A liver transplant operation is life-saving surgery for patients with end stage liver disease. It is also performed for some patients with primary liver cancer and children with metabolic diseases (affecting the chemical processes within the body).

  • Bone and amniotic membrane donation

Unlike other organ and tissue donations, you can donate bone and part of your placenta as a living tissue donor. NHSBT work with specific hospitals to give people the opportunity to donate bone and amniotic membrane (part of the placenta) when having planned hip surgery or giving birth by elective caesarean section.

For more information on becoming a living kidney donor:

  1. Watch the Transplant TV film at this link: https://transplant.tv/patients/#/living-kidney-donation
  2. Browse the NHSBT information on the NHSBT Living Donation Webpages: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/become-a-living-donor/

Progress and Post-Covid Recovery in Organ Donation 

The Royal College of Pathologists recently reported that over the last decade in the UK, there has been a significant increase in organ donation, with the number of donors increasing by 56%. The introduction of ‘opt-out’ legislation is expected to increase this figure further. Overcoming the various logistical, legal and cultural barriers has made the organ donation community even more determined that the new laws should be fully enacted and an individual’s decision to be a donor should be fulfilled. The UK Government was quoted in Parliament that they expect 700 more transplants per year to take place under the new ‘opt-out’ laws.

Organ donation and transplantation across the world was significantly affected by Covid-19 with organ donation and transplantation services temporarily halted. Living donation transplants were also halted. These were testing times but led by the NHSBT drawing all involved together, the shared purpose of the donation and transplantation teams, the retrieval teams, transplant centres and donor hospitals worked together in a way that was never seen before with record numbers of families consenting to organ donation, brought to the forefront of our minds by unfortunate circumstances. These efforts meant that transplantation rates soon recovered, all transplant centres were able to reopen, and deceased donor transplant rates soon recovered to pre-Covid-19 levels. Living donor transplantation also recovered and the UK living kidney sharing scheme has resumed, with matching runs being equivalent to pre-pandemic activity in terms of numbers of donors, recipients included and transplants identified.

As well as scientific progress during the pandemic, cultural advancements have also been made and many communities from different backgrounds have been brought together. NHSBT has developed the Community Investment Scheme, which provides funding for trusted organisations to help drive awareness within communities, working with faith leaders and communities to build trust, raise awareness and discuss the barriers to organ and/or tissue donation and how organ donation can proceed in line with faith or beliefs. As a result, as part of joining the organ donation register, a statement is now included which can be ticked regarding whether NHS staff should speak to family members about how organ donation can go ahead in line with an individual’s faith or beliefs.

There is still a long road ahead in the future. Thousands of patients await life-saving and life-improving transplants, and much work is yet to be done to help reduce this number. The UK drives innovation in transplantation and is a world leader in many aspects of the field.

To sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk
or call 0300 123 23 23

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

22LTB373 NHSBT National Organ Donation Week – 26th September – 2nd October 2022



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