Thurrock MP encouraged by increase in organ donation by black and asian communities

Survey reveals shift in attitudes towards organ donation among black and Asian communities

ATTITUDES towards organ donation among black and Asian communities are becoming more positive after new research* revealed more people may consider becoming a lifesaving donor.

Last year more than a third of people said they did not want to donate when surveyed ahead of the launch of a Government campaign by NHS Blood and Transplant to address an urgent shortage of donors from these backgrounds.

However, new research reveals this figure has almost halved over the last year while the proportion of people unsure whether they want to be a donor has grown, indicating a shift in attitudes from a negative to a neutral position.

And the number of black and Asian people who would definitely donate some or all organs after their death has risen from 11 to 15 percent.

The latest findings also indicate that people from these communities feel much better informed about organ donation compared with a year ago.

Almost double the number were aware that organs matched by ethnicity had the best chance of success. And three times as many people (4) knew that those from black and Asian backgrounds are more likely to need an organ transplant than white people.

The survey results have been released to coincide with a fresh call for community and faith or belief-based organisations to join the campaign to address the urgent shortage of black, Asian, mixed race and minority ethnic donors.

NHS Blood and Transplant is inviting applications for funding for projects that can help break down myths and barriers and increase support for organ donation at a community level.

Funded by the Department for Health and Social Care and Welsh Government, the community investment scheme is open to any faith or community-based organisation working within black, Asian, mixed race or minority ethnic communities in England and Wales.

Minister for Inequalities Jackie Doyle Price said: “I am delighted that more black and Asian people are willing to consider the life-saving gift of organ donation than ever before. This is great progress but we know there’s still a critical shortage of donors from black, Asian, mixed race and minority ethnic backgrounds, so I am pleased that this new funding will help break down myths and barriers to increase support for organ donation in these communities.”

This is the second round of the scheme. Under the first round in 2018/19 funding was awarded to 25 projects led by organisations representing Jain, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Swahili, black and Asian Christians, black African and Caribbean and multi-faith groups.

The projects reached people across the Midlands and the North West of England as well as in London, Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle. Activity included information workshops, an ambassador programme, a mobile app and a social media campaign.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The projects funded under round one of this scheme have initiated and informed conversations across a spectrum of faiths and communities about the precious gift of organ donation.

“We are delighted to be able to support a second round of this fantastic community-led work, and hopefully encourage more people from black, Asian, mixed race and minority ethnic backgrounds to decide that they want to be a lifesaving organ donor and share that decision with their families.

“Although the law in England is changing, it will still be the generosity of individual donors and their families who decide at the most difficult time to support organ donation.”

An estimated £200,000 will be available for projects in England in this round of the scheme. £20,000 will be available for projects in Wales. Organisations operating at a local level in both England and Wales will be able to put in separate applications or combined applications to cover both areas.

There will be two levels of funding available. Applicants can apply for funding for projects up to £2,499 or for projects over the value of £2,500. The ceiling for applications is £10,000. All applications will be reviewed by an independent judging panel which will also oversee the projects as a steering group.

Organisations will be able to select from three dates for completion of their project: end June 2020, end October 2020 and end March 2021.

To support bidders with their applications, NHS Blood and Transplant will be holding a free workshop on August 7 at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury, Coram Street, London, WC1N 1HT. To reserve a place, please email community.funding@nhsbt.nhs.uk

It is not essential to attend the workshop to be able to put in an application for funding. The closing date for applications is September 1.

Organisations delivering projects in England will have an important role to play in helping people understand that the law is changing.

From spring 2020, the consent system in England will move to ‘opt out’. Just like the current system, people will still be able to decide whether or not they want to donate their organs when they die, and families will always be approached about whether their relative would have wanted to be an organ donor and belief and cultural considerations will be discussed with families. All adults in England ** will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups***.

The community investment scheme is part of a Government campaign led by NHS Blood and Transplant with support from the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA) to address the urgent need for black, Asian, mixed race and minority ethnic donors.

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