Let’s talk about organ donation this Christmas

Families are being urged to share their organ donation decision this festive season so that their loved ones know what they want when they die, and more patients can receive the transplants they need.

Figures releases by NHS Blood and Transplant show that more than 6,000 people are facing Christmas on the waiting list for an organ transplant, with over 180 children awaiting a life-saving gift.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year, however away from the rush and bustle of preparing for the holiday it should also be a time for family and thinking of others.

“We are urging everyone to take a moment to think about the people who will spend their Christmas hoping for just one thing; a lifesaving organ transplant. Would you like to help if you could? If you needed a transplant, would you want someone to donate to you?

“Please let your family know what your organ donation decision is so that we can save more lives. Every precious organ donor allows more families to spend special times together.

“A quick chat can save lives, and we know that even at a time of grief families take enormous comfort and pride from their loved one’s donation.”

From spring 2020 in England and autumn 2020 in Scotland, the law around organ donation is changing. All adults will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate, known as ‘opt out’, or are in one of groups not covered by the new organ donation law. This system was introduced in Wales in December 2015 and in Jersey in July this year.

Families will still always be involved in organ donation, so it is vital that they know your choice. In the lead up to the change in law, NHS Blood and Transplant is urging families to talk and share their decision.

NHS Blood and Transplant is launching a new TV advert over Christmas, which explains more about the law changing in England next year. There is more information at www.organdonation.nhs.uk, where you can also join the NHS Organ Donor Register, amend your details and more.

Last medically reviewed: December, 2019 • December, 2022