Leicester Royal Infirmary is working with NHS Blood and Transplant to promote organ donation to all its staff, patients and visitors. The doors to the main lifts have been covered with promotional messages urging people to sign up to be an organ donor.

There are currently 119 people in Leicester waiting for a transplant, of whom 104 are waiting for a kidney transplant. They need people to say yes to organ donation so they can get the organ transplant they so desperately need. In the UK there are over 6,000 people on the National Transplant Waiting List and over 1,300 people either died whilst on the waiting list or became too sick to receive a transplant between April 2015-16.

The hospital is promoting organ donation in the hope that it will make people think about it while waiting for the lift and then go on to register. This would hopefully, in turn, open the door to more people getting the transplants they need.

There is a higher proportion of patients from BAME  (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), Communities on the waiting list for an organ transplant, but a lower proportion of organ donations from these communities.  The process of organ donation involves extensive matching of tissue types, and a match is more likely in patients with a similar ethnicity. Hence the waiting time for patients from BAME backgrounds is longer than those from white British population.  This is particularly relevant in Leicester, where some communities have a higher incidence of kidney failure, often related to the complications of diabetes.

In the last five years 74 people in Leicester became lifesavers by donating their organs. During the same period, 267 have had their lives saved or transformed thanks to deceased organ donors from across the UK. Sadly though, 69 people have died without receiving a lifesaving transplant. 

8 in 10 of us agree it’s important to tell those closest to us our views about organ donation after death, but only a third say their family knows their wishes about organ donation.*

Surveys have also repeatedly shown that whilst over 75% of people agree to the idea of donating their organs after death, less than 30% have registered this on the National Organ Donation Register.  There are many reasons for this, including that families may feel uncomfortable about discussing dying, or have just not got around to it.  Often, when a loved one dies, their family do not know what their wishes might have been and it can be difficult for a family to consider this during their grief.  

Rebecca Ashman, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “Organ donation saves lives and one organ donor can save or transform up to nine lives and even more by donating tissue as well. I know that more families agree to donation if they know their loved one was on the Organ Donor Register. We are urging people to save their family from having to guess what they would have wanted at such a difficult time. Join the NHS Organ Donor Register and let your family know your decision. One day it could be someone you love in need of a transplant.”

Jonathan Thompson, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at Leicester’s Hospitals, added: “We are delighted to be promoting organ donation on the doors of some of the lifts within the hospital. Transplants save lives and are only possible if people are willing to donate. Every single hospital in the UK will be in a town or city where patients are waiting for a transplant and we hope this initiative will prompt our employees, patients and visitors to the hospital to think about organ donation and to commit to save lives as a donor by signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.”

Sign up today at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and let your friends and family know you want to help others after your death. In the last year over 18,000 people joined the NHS Organ Donor Register in Leicester. Join them to save and improve lives.