Engagement with organ donation in BAME groups continues to grow

Annual report on Living Transplant Initiative shows work in the community is continuing to successfully engage BAME groups on topic of organ donation

24 December 2019

The NBTA Living Transplant Initiative, funded by NHS Blood and Transplant has had another successful year of engagement with black, Asian and ethnic monitory communities on the importance of living organ donation. The latest annual report shows more people, in more towns and cities, were engaged with the Initiative’s work than ever before.

In the last year, the project has funded seven projects to engage with BAME communities across England on the importance of donating a kidney or liver while alive.  Most were run by organisations which represent Hindu, Jain, black and Sikh communities. They have provided new faith-based resources, which are hosted on NHSBT’s website.

Four of these projects have arranged community events and supported people who’ve shown an interest in living donation. The three smaller projects ensured hospitals were also able to engage more with BAME groups on this topic.

Since April 2019 the Initiative has focused on encouraging people interested in living donation to take the next step and be assessed in the hope that they can go on to donate. As well as black and Asian people, the Initiative is engaging with people in socio-economic situations where living donation may not be on their radar. This work will continue until at least spring 2020.

When the law changes to a soft opt-out system of consent for deceased donors in spring 2020 there will be a major change in deceased donation and it’s vital that everyone is aware and engaged in this. At the same time, it is crucial that people understand the unique and important role that living donors will continue to play in ensuring that everyone who is waiting for a transplant has an opportunity to receive one when they need it.

The idea of engaging with BAME communities via representatives from within will live on through our Community Investment Scheme and will inform future initiatives like this. Ahead of the law change, the Scheme’s focus is on donation after death, however engagement about the importance of organ donation will continue to be an essential part of our work with BAME groups.

Lisa Burnapp, Clinical Lead for Living Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “There’s a shortage of both living and deceased organ donors from Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups. In the last year we’ve engaged more people from black, Asian and ethnic minority groups, in more areas, than ever before on the importance of living organ donation.

“This initiative has been central in ensuring this important message is heard by the right people. We hope more people will now take the next step and seriously consider donating, either to a family member, friend or even to someone they don’t know who is waiting for a kidney’.

Kirit Modi, Honorary President of NBTA said: “This initiative shows that empowering BAME groups to take the lead in promoting organ donation amongst their communities does work. It is important that this work continues as we move towards introducing an opt out system for deceased organ donation in 2020. We will, of course, continue to give this priority in our work and are delighted that the idea of engaging from within a community has been adopted and taken forward by the Community Investment Scheme."

For more information, download the full annual report (1.5MB)