Donor champion scheme hopes to save more lives

Friday 10 January 2014 Updated: 14/01 12:07

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Buy photos » Michael Amies, chairman of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust organ donation committee, hopes many people will become Blood and Organ Donation Champions. (s)

COUNCIL chiefs are calling for people to become blood and organ donor champions in a bid to save lives.

Worcestershire County Council is working in partnership with Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to set up a network of champions with more than 100 people in the county on the waiting list for a much-needed transplant.

It is hoped the scheme will provide a significant increase in the number of residents in the county signed up with the NHS organ donor register.

Champions will be asked to take part in several activities including displaying leaflets, attending numerous events or meetings, chatting to people encouraging them to give blood and sign the organ register and to promote the service. Volunteers would then be sought to attend various events to suit them.

The role may interest individuals who already have given blood or know someone who has received an organ donation and want to play a key role in improving the numbers.

Coun Marcus Hart, responsible for Health and Well-Being at Worcestershire County Council, said each champion will have a vital role to play.

“We want to create a network of champions who will be fully trained and then be available to display leaflets and attend events such as youth groups, healthcare forums and community gatherings, to speak about donation and encourage people to sign up themselves,” he said.

“How much time they will be able to give depends on individual circumstances but every champion will be important in spreading the word and helping to save lives.”

The county council has become one of just four councils in the UK to join forces with NHS Blood and Transplant which collects donated blood in England and Wales and manages the UK’s organ donation system.

Michael Amies, chairman of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust organ donation committee, lost his adopted daughter while waiting for a transplant and said the scheme will help inspire people to save lives.

“With 113 people waiting for a transplant in the county and a constant need for life-saving blood transfusions, this network of champions will be a fantastic way to spread the word about the importance of donation and their real-life stories will hopefully inspire people to get involved.

“Only 32 per cent of people living in Worcestershire have signed up to the NHS Organ Donor register while less than three per cent of them are active blood donors.”

Anyone wishing to sign up to become a Blood and Organ Donation Champion should visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/donationchampions or email donationchampion@worcestershire.gov.uk.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.

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