BME community urged to sign up to NHS Organ Donor Register

Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) community members are encouraged to sign up to NHS Organ Donor Register.

Black and South Asian people are more than three times as likely to need an organ transplant than the rest of the population, however there is a shortage with only 1.5 per cent of people on the Register of South Asian origin, and 0.4 per cent of Black origin.  This means that South Asian and Black people have to wait much longer for a transplant, on average twice as long as a White person.

The annual UK-wide awareness week which has been running from 9th to 15th July 2012, is meant to increase understanding of organ donation and encourage more people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR).

Hollyoaks actor, Sikander Malik said: “Raising awareness of the importance of organ donation is something that I am truly passionate about, especially within the ethnic minority community where currently there is a severe shortage of donors for Black and Asian patients. It is crucial that people not only sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and support this great cause, but also that they make their wishes known by passing this information on to their friends and family.”

This year’s Transplant Week theme is ‘Pass it On’ – focusing not just on signing up to the ODR but also the importance of people talking about their wishes to family and friends so they know what they would like to happen after their death.

Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant’s Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, urged more people to sign up to the ODR and encouraged the donors to talk to their family and friends about their donation wishes.

Johnson said: “If you join the ODR tell the people closest to you. Otherwise, your wishes may come as a surprise at a time when they are trying to deal with their loss. This could affect their decision to proceed with a life-saving donation. To add your name to the ODR please call 0300 123 23 23, text JOIN 84880 or visit www.transplantweek.co.uk.”

Lloyd from Stevenage, whose father is from the West Indies, is acutely aware of the need for more people from BME communities to join the register. He sadly lost his sister Jane, aged 29, to a road traffic accident. When his sister passed away himself and his family agreed to donation as they didn’t want her to die for nothing.
“Jane had already discussed with us about how she supported organ donation and would wish her organs to be used to help someone else live if anything happened to her.  This helped us to make our decision to donate. Her gift helped four people to have a second chance to live, and this really helped me and our family to make sense of the tragedy,” Lloyd said.