Only minority of black people prepared to donate organs

Only minority of black people prepared to donate organs

ORGAN DONATION: The government has launched a new scheme to encourage discussion on lifesaving transplants among BAME communities

AROUND A third of black and Asian people in England are unsure about donating their organs to save the lives of others, new research from NHS Blood and Transplant has revealed.

The survey also found that a higher proportion – 37 per cent – were against donating their organs altogether. Of those surveyed, just 11 per cent said they would definitely donate for lifesaving transplants.

The main obstacle to organ donation is the belief that it contradicts with the teachings of their culture or religion, according to NHS Blood and Transplant’s research.

Organs from donors of the same ethnicity of the patient have the best chance of success but only one in five of those surveyed were aware of this.

To tackle the issue, the government has launched a new scheme that aims to encourage discussion among BAME communities.

Jackie Doyle-Price, parliamentary under secretary of state for mental health and inequalities, said: “The community investment scheme that I am launching…is to help black, Asian and ethnic minority communities come together to discuss whether or not they wish to donate their organs. Organ donation saves lives and is especially important from these communities where donation rates have been historically low.

“Donation is a deeply personal decision, and a gift. Unfortunately, myths and perceived barriers to donation remain – I am determined to tackle these misconceptions to make sure everyone understands the life-saving power of donation before making their choice, and what better place to do this than through local communities.”

The scheme will make available an estimated £115,000 for projects in England in its first year. £20,000 will be available for projects in Wales. Organisations that operate at a local level in both England and Wales will be able to put in separate applications or combined applications to cover both areas.

Anthony Clarkson, NHS Blood and Transplant interim director for organ donation and transplantation, said: “Our research findings underline how important it is to address myths and barriers and encourage more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to talk about organ donation.

“Community and faith-based organisations occupy a trusted place in their communities and can play a vital role in increasing support for and understanding of organ donation.

“This community investment scheme will enable these groups to promote a positive organ donation message and encourage more people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds to decide that they want to be a lifesaving organ donor and to share that decision with their families.”

To support bidders with their applications, NHS Blood and Transplant will be holding a free workshop on Thursday September 13 from 10am-2pm in Herschel Conference and Meeting Room at Mary Ward House, 5 – 7 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SN. Those wishing to reserve a place can email community.funding@nhsbt.nhs.uk

It is not essential for bidders to attend the workshop in order to put in an application for funding.

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