During Organ Donation Week, September 2 to 8, NHS Blood and Transplant and St George’s are urging people to talk to their families about organ donation to increase the number of people whose lives can be saved or transformed by a transplant.

Next year, the law around organ donation is changing in England. From spring 2020, all adults will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.

In the lead up to the change in law, NHS Blood and Transplant is urging families across England to talk about their organ donation decision, with the campaign message ‘Pass it on’.

Awareness events are being hosted at St George’s.

St George’s is supporting the campaign by hosting awareness events this week. On Thursday 5, Specialist Nurses in Organ Donation will be in the hospital’s Grosvenor Wing (main reception) between 10am-3pm, answering visitors’ questions and handing out forms to anyone wanting to sign the Organ Donor Register.

On Saturday 14 September, St George’s is also hosting its Tree of Life ceremony.  The event takes place annually to thank, pay tribute to, and remember the many people who donate life-saving organs and tissues at St George’s.

The Tree of Life itself is positioned in Atkinson Morley Wing to act as a permanent reminder of each donor’s selfless gift/s.

After the law has changed, families will continue to be approached before organ donation goes ahead. Knowing what their relative wanted helps families to support their decision at a difficult time.

The Tree of Life in St George’s Atkinson Morley Wing.

A recent survey of adults in England for NHS Blood and Transplant found that while 84% agreed it was important to let those closest to you know your views on organ donation, only 40% had shared their organ donation decision with their family or partner.

Jo Cox, Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation at St George’s said: “There were 40 organ donors at St George’s last year, resulting in 97 people receiving a life-saving transplant. This is an amazing achievement and an incredible gift from the donors, and their families.

“To increase the number of lifesaving transplants, we need more people to talk to their family about organ donation. Sadly, many opportunities are lost every year because families don’t know if their loved one wanted to be a donor or not. Please don’t wait. Speak to your family about organ donation today.”

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We are very grateful to St George’s for its support during Organ Donation Week.

“Even after the law around organ donation changes next year, families will still be approached before organ donation goes ahead. So it remains so important to talk to your families about your views.

“Register your organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and tell your family the choice you have made. If the time comes, we know families find the organ donation conversation with nurses or medical teams much easier if they already know what their relative wanted.”

Find out more and register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family.