National Health Service
The new campaign aims to increase organ donation rates within black, Asian and minority ethnic communities by raising awareness and breaking down barriers to donation. It will be delivered by NHS Blood and Transplant with support from the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA).
The campaign follows figures from NHS Blood and Transplant that show 21% of people who died on the waiting list last year were from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background. The figure was 15% a decade ago.
The NHS Blood and Transplant report reveals only 7% of donors last year were from BAME backgrounds. This figure is increasing thanks to more families saying yes to donation when asked in hospitals.
Family refusal continues to be the biggest obstacle to organ donation among these communities. Around half as many families support organ donation compared with families from a white background.
Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price said:
I am delighted that this year more people than ever from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds have received life-saving transplants. This shows great progress, but the fact remains that if you are from any one of these communities, you are more likely to need a transplant, for the simple reason that you are more likely to suffer from a disease that requires a transplant. At the same time, you are less likely to get a transplant than if you were white.
The campaign we are launching today will be a driving force to save more lives. The government, MPs, faith leaders, charities, campaigners, influencers, friends and families all have a role to play to address myths and barriers and bring attention to the lifesaving power of donation.
Our project will include a community investment scheme to enable local groups to deliver this vital work. For now, I would ask on behalf of everyone who has received a transplant, and everyone who is waiting for the life-changing news that an organ has been found: sign up to donate and give the gift of life.
Anthony Clarkson from NHS Blood and Transplant said:
While it is encouraging that more black, Asian and ethnic minority families are supporting donation making more lifesaving transplants possible change is not happening fast enough and too many lives are being lost.Although many black, Asian and ethnic minority patients are able to receive a transplant from a white donor, others may die if there is no donor from their own community.
We are asking more people from these communities to talk about organ donation and share their donation decision with their families. Words save lives.