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Organ Donation Week

This year’s Organ Donation Week, a week-long celebration of organ donation across the UK, begins on 7 September and York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is backing the campaign to help raise awareness.

The Trust itself facilitated eight organ donations last year, resulting in 14 patients receiving a transplant. The transplant team even managed to find a donor at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and two patients received transplants from one donor.

Earlier this year the law around organ donation in England, known as Max and Keira’s Law, moved to an opt-out system to allow more people to save more lives. All adults in England will be considered as willing to donate when they die, unless they have recorded a decision not to donate, are in one of the excluded groups or have told their family they don’t wish to donate

Dr Rob Ferguson is a Consultant in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine at York Hospital and is Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at the Trust.

Dr Ferguson said: “Every day across the UK someone dies waiting for a transplant.

“Max and Kiera’s law is a positive move in helping save lives, however we want to highlight that everyone still has a choice if they want to be an organ donor or not.  We want to encourage people to find out about how the law change affects them, take the time to make their organ donation decision and most importantly share their decision with those closest to them.”

The theme of Organ Donation Week this year is to open up the discussion and get people to talk to their families about their wishes. People are being encouraged to register their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and to share it with their family or closest friends.

Rachel Jones, specialist nurse for the Organ Donation Team, said: “It’s really important that families know their loved ones’ wishes to give them the certainty to support their decision at such a difficult time.

“The number of patients receiving a life-saving or life-changing organ transplant in the UK is increasing but patients are still dying while waiting. A donor can save or transform up to nine people’s lives by donating their organs when they die and help even more people by donating tissue, such as their heart valves, skin, bone, tendons and corneas.”

The organ donation team at York Hospital are planning virtual heart walks throughout the week where they will walk, run or cycle a route in the shape of a heart.

Dr Ferguson added: “We’d love to see people plan a route to walk, run or cycle in the shape of a heart to raise awareness for organ donation. It’s a fun activity for all ages and can be any distance you choose and easy to track on apps such as Strava, FitBit, or MapMyWalk. And if you want to really get creative you could walk in the shape of lungs or a kidney!”

Follow out the team’s progress on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @YorkTeachingNHS

York Hospital will be lighting up pink all week to raise awareness, as well as York’s City Walls and Clifford’s Tower.  Scarborough Hospital will be flying the organ donation flag all week.

Visit to register your decision and find out more.

Organ donation team outside of York Hospital

07 September 2020

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