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Organ donors on the up but Church urged to get more involved

Good news about increasing numbers of organ donors has been welcomed by the fleshandblood campaign, which believes Church generosity can continue to profile this way of giving ...

NHS Blood and Transplant has announced that the number of people donating organs after death has risen 50% since 2008. More than 1,200 people in the UK donated their organs in the last year, leading to about 3,100 transplants.

However, more donors are needed and campaigners for the fleshandblood campaign believe the Church’s commitment to generosity can raise the profile of organ donation in the UK.

The increase in people donating has been largely credited to the network of specialist nurses who approach and support bereaved relatives in hospitals. But with the numbers on the organ donation register remaining unchanged, the NHS Blood and Transplant service is still asking for more people to register.

Sally Johnson, from NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "The NHS has worked hard to ensure every potential donor is identified, that the organ donation register is checked, and that families are approached. But the NHS can't do it on its own. We need a transformation in donor and family consent because the UK's family refusal rate remains one of the highest in Europe."

The fleshandblood campaign launched in January 2013, specifically calls on the church to increase the number of blood and organ donors in the UK. Founded as a two-year partnership between creative agency KORE and NHS Blood and Transplant, the initiative aims to profile the need for more blood and organ donors and encourage donation as an additional method of personal giving within churches.

Juls Hollidge, fleshandblood Campaign Director said: “We want to congratulate NHS Blood and Transplant for their hard work in achieving their 50% target. This is encouraging news and we're looking forward to building on this progress. There are still a number of people missing out on vital treatment, due to a lack of organs available in the UK. We hope to see this change throughout the campaign by raising awareness and helping to increase the number of organ donors further.”

Every day 7,000 units of blood are needed to meet hospital demand, with approximately 225,000 extra blood donors needed each year to maintain consistency. More than 1,000 people die each year in the UK waiting for an organ transplant. The Church, which has a long history of giving and generosity and has millions of people across the country as its members, is ideally placed to raise awareness and help to meet the need for blood and organ donation in the UK.

Hollidge continued, “Our research shows that 48% of Christians are on the Organ Donor Register, but only 24% have discussed their wishes with friends and family. We want to encourage individuals not only to make a decision to donate, but to enable and empower them to share and discuss that decision with others.”

This unique campaign seeks to equip individuals and churches as advocates for blood and organ donation enabling them to raise awareness of this key issue with their family, friends and community and potentially help to save thousands of lives each year.


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