To mark the anniversary of the legislation change regarding organ donation in England, colleagues from the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (NCA), Manchester University Foundation NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) took part in a ‘Join the Journey’ bike ride to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.
A team cycled the 12-mile journey from The Royal Oldham Hospital to Manchester Royal Infirmary representing the journey donated organs take from a district general hospital to a transplant centre where a recipient who is waiting for a lifesaving transplant operation.
Max and Keira’s Law, the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019, came into effect in England May 2020 and is named in memory of Keira Ball who was killed in a traffic accident and donated her heart, saving Max’s life. All adults are now 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 or have told their family that they don’t want to donate.
However, relatives will still always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead and each year, opportunities for transplants are missed because families aren't sure what to do. Organ donation was recently added to the National Curriculum for the first time, so family members, whatever their age, are being encouraged to get together to talk about their own organ donation decisions.
Dr Andrew Drummond, Consultant in Intensive Care and Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at the Royal Oldham Hospital said “Knowing what your relative wanted helps families support their decision around organ donation, at what is often a difficult time. We need more people in Bury, Rochdale, Oldham and Manchester to talk with their loved ones about organ donation to give them the certainty they need to support their organ donation decision.”
Dr Jonathan Bannard-Smith, Consultant in Intensive Care and Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, said: “You still have a choice whether you want to become an organ donor or not. We will always ask your family to support your decision. So, whatever you choose, it's really important that you let them know.”
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