Healthcare: On the Agenda - Media focus on organ donation

- In a nutshell

The UK Organ Donation Taskforce has rejected the idea of 'presumed consent' for organ donation, saying it would be unlikely to boost donation rates.

- What's the big deal?

The UK has one of the lowest organ donation rates in Europe. Every year, 1,000 people in the UK die after waiting for a transplant. Currently people must sign up to the organ donation register, or their families must agree, before their organs can be used.

- What is going to happen next?

England is to launch a £4.5m public awareness campaign aimed at boosting voluntary donor numbers. It aims to sign up 20 million people at the organ donor register by 2010, and 25 million by 2013.

- How has the press played a part?

The Observer launched a campaign in January called Donor For Life. It argued that replacing the current 'opt in' system of organ donation with a new policy of 'opt out', or presumed consent, was urgently needed. It received backing from Prime Minister Gordon Brown and chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson.

- Media coverage

The Observer ran a double-page spread on the story last weekend and it was also picked up by the BBC Health online and covered on BBC Breakfast.

- PR support

The press coverage is being handled by the Department of Health's in-house press team.

8,000 - Number of UK people who require organ transplants

25% - Percentage of the UK on the transplant register.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.