Wakefield Council will be flying the flag and lighting the Town Hall Clock Tower pink to help promote organ donation for National Organ Donation Week (Monday 20 – Sunday 26 September).
Called “Leave Them Certain”, the campaign is encouraging people to talk to their loved ones about organ donation.
This is an important theme for Wakefield district, as NHS figures show only 33 per cent of residents are on the organ donor register.
Anna Hartley, Director of Public Health, said: “This is lower than in comparable districts, such as Leeds, York, and Harrogate so we’re keen to play a positive role in promoting organ donation to increase the number of people on the register in Wakefield.”
She added: “Families are always involved before organ donation goes ahead, so we would encourage everyone to have a conversation about organ donation, so that when the time comes, your family are certain about what you want.”
The Council is working with the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust on increasing awareness of organ donation throughout the district.
The law around organ donation changed in England in May 2020.
All adults are now considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die, unless they record a decision not to donate, are in one of the excluded groups or have told their family that they do not want to donate.
Each year opportunities for transplants are missed because families are not sure what to do. However, relatives will still always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead.
Dr Helen Buglass, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation and Consultant in ICU and Anaesthesia at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, 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 Wakefield to talk with their loved ones about organ donation to give them the certainty they need to support their organ donation decision.
“These conversations are especially important for local residents from Black and Asian backgrounds.
“People from these communities are more likely to need a transplant. But they often wait longer as the best chance of a match will often come from someone of the same ethnicity.”
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is now asking people across the area to tell their families that they want to donate after their death to ensure more lives are saved.
Cllr Maureen Cummings, Cabinet Member for Communities, Poverty and Health, said: “With changes in the law that came into effect in May last year, it’s never been easier to become an organ donor.
“And so I would encourage people to speak to their loved ones about their wishes because organ donation can be the gift of life for somebody in need.”
To find out more and register your decision, visit the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family.
Users of the NHS app, can also use this to record, check or amend their details or decision.