What would make you actually register as an donor?

As Jerry wrote earlier, on Wednesday morning’s BBC Breakfast TV they talked about transplants and organ donation in the UK, and how we need more people to register as organ donors. As always – my ears get very big, as we say in Swedish, which means I listen in a way that I rarely do, but this topic is really close to my heart because I myself have experienced facing a downhill road towards death before eventually receiving a kidney from my lovely brother, and I now live a healthy super-normal life.

One of the questions they discussed in the studio with Vashti Poole from The Transplant Trust and BBC Breakfast’s Dr Rosemary Leonard was whether the UK should have a opt-in or opt-out policy. At the moment we have an opt-in policy which means that you need to actively register as a donor, and opt-out means that everybody is automatically registered as a donor and you have to actively say no if you don’t want to be a donor.

Dr Rosemary Leonard said that GPs need to understand that some people are really concerned about what would happen to them if they were dying. They are worried that doctors and surgeons will hover around waiting for them to die so that they can harvest their organs.

I think that we (Transplant Trust and all the volunteers passionately working to raise the number of people on the organ donor register) shouldn’t even go there with these people. There is no point trying to persuade them to be donors. The focus should be on all the people that actually want to register but have never come around to doing it.

My question to you – if you are somebody who actually wants to register as an organ donor – what can we  do to help you to take the action to register?


Transplant Trust on BBC Breakfast

Vashti Poole from The Transplant Trust

Vashti Poole from The Transplant Trust

I felt a pang of guilt as I switched on to BBC Breakfast this morning. No, not because I should have been doing something less boring instead, but because there, on the screen was Vashti Poole from the Transplant Trust. “Still haven’t finished the Transplant Games write-up, have you” she seemed to accuse me as I choked on my yogurt.

And that radio bloke they interviewed on film – no idea who he was, but he brilliantly explained what it’s like to wake up from a successful kidney transplant. He mentions the Transplant Games and the poignancy of watching the children’s sprints, using the word I mentioned at the end of the last blog entry. Yeah, yeah I get it; blogging is about keeping up to date.

I will come back to that.

BBC Breakfast's Dr Rosemary Leonard

BBC Breakfast's Dr Rosemary Leonard

So, my blogging guilt aside, it was a good piece with Vashti and BBC Breakfast’s house doctor Rosemary Leonard being interviewed on why people should sign up to the organ donor register, why perhaps people don’t, and discussing questions such as should we have an opt-out scheme like they do in Spain?

Just as in the Lifegivers programmes in April, it seemed to generate a lot of live feedback. Not surprising, I suppose – it’s an emotive subject that affects a lot of people. The Transplant Games brought home to me just how many lives are touched through the transplant question, whether with the joy of the new lease of life that a transplant brings, or the tragedy of being part of a family that has lost someone dear.

I’d love to post a link to BBC iPlayer stream of the programme, but there isn’t one. I hope I will be able to make some footage (byteage)  at some point. In the meantime, thanks Vashti, both for waking me up and for being out there with the message as the nations wakes up.

Thank you to everybody who visited these pages unprompted today (and to those who continue to visit). Thank you especially for signing up to the UK NHS Organ Donor Register.