Have you had your say in the opt-in or opt-out organ donor consultation? The government consultation will close on 6 March 2018, but very few in the black community have engaged in the debate with less than one percent of respondents who’ve taken part, identifying as being black, Afro-Caribbean or black British.
The worrying issue is that we, more than any other group, could stand to benefit the most from the proposed fundamental changes to help increase the number of organ donors in this country, and potentially save the lives of hundreds of black people.
Patients from the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities can wait on average nine months longer for a kidney transplant than a white patient, due to the lack of suitable organs.
Whilst organs can be donated regardless of race, organ transplants are more likely to be successful and last longer if they have a closer genetic match.
The government launched the major public consultation to gather views on plans to introduce a new opt-out system, where there will be presumed consent for organ donation – as opposed to the current system where people need to actively opt-in to donate their organs.
Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price said: “The sad reality is that not enough black people are coming forward and registering as donors – in fact, this equates to only 0.9% of people on the organ donor register.
“This is a difficult issue to talk about, but it has big implications for the BAME community – not least because the need for a better organ donation system could have the greatest impact on people from black and Afro-Caribbean backgrounds.
“Our consultation, which runs until next month, is an historic chance to shape a decision that could save hundreds of lives in the years ahead.”
Orin Lewis, African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) Co-Founder, said: “The opt-out consultation allows the important conversation surrounding organ donation to continue on a large scale. It provides a platform for the views and opinions of the diverse British public to be heard.
“It’s vital for all leaders within the BAME community to participate in the national conversation re organ donation. It’s also important the Africa Caribbean community living in the UK, join the conversation by completing the online consultation, regardless of their views on the new proposed change in the law.”
Figures from NHS Blood and Transplant show that in the past year around 1,200 families in the UK decided not to allow organ donation because they were unsure or did not know whether their relatives would have wanted to donate an organ or not. As a result, every day three patients die needing a new organ.
To have a say on the future of organ donation visit engage.dh.gov.uk/organdonation