NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group is working with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust to encourage people to talk about organ donation and join the organ donor register.
The Council has teamed up with Charlton Athletic Community Trust to launch a roadshow as part of an outreach programme which coincides with the launch of the NHS's 'Words save lives' campaign. It urges people who have signed up to the organ donor register already to share their decision with their family and next of kin as they will need to support their decision.
Former Plumstead resident Laura Manners, helped kick off the roadshow in General Gordon Square in Woolwich today (8 January) - nine years to the day since her kidney transplant! The roadshow will visit other high footfall locations around the borough over the next few weeks. An information stand will provide support and advice and staff will give out leaflets debunking some of the myths surrounding organ donation.
The start of the roadshow comes just a few months after Councillors passed a cross-party motion to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and back the introduction of a nationwide opt-out organ donation system.
Councillor David Gardner, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: "Around three people die every day in the UK while waiting for an organ transplant. I hope our organ motion roadshow encourages more residents to sign the organ donor register as well as encouraging those that have already signed to share their wishes with their families.
"As only 1 in 100 people die in circumstances where their organs can be considered for transplantation, every potential donor is vitally important - but signing up as an organ donor isn't the end of the story."
Laura Manners said: "It's so easy for people to forget or not speak to their loved ones about their decision to donate and those organs are unintentionally wasted so I think it's so important that we change the system from opt in to opt out."
Managing Director of NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Neil Kennett-Brown said: "Thousands of people across the UK are waiting for a transplant that could save their life. If you support organ donation, it's important to make your opinions known. Take the time to discuss your views with friends and family and register your choice with the NHS Organ Donation Register."
Michaela Heller, consultant anaesthetist and intensivist at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, said: 'Organ donation can save and transform lives and, as clinical lead for organ donation at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, I'm well aware of the shortage of donors. This campaign is an important new step in promoting a nationwide opt-out system, which would significantly increase the number of organs available for transplant."
The organ donation roadshow will be visiting the following places in the next few weeks:
15 January – Eltham Centre, 1-3.30pm
29 January – Tesco Woolwich, 10am-12pm
29 January – Greenwich Centre, 1-3.30pm
Further dates and more information about the roadshow is available from www.livewellgreenwich.org.uk
Sign up to the organ donor register by visiting www.organdonation.nhs.uk