Organ Donation

15 January 2015

Reaching out in the workplace on organ donation

Reaching out in the workplace and at home to raise awareness about organ donation choices in 2015.

In less than twelve months time, on 1st December 2015, Wales will become the first home nation to introduce a soft opt out legislation on organ donation. As part of the ongoing ‘Time to Talk’ public communications campaign a new wave of Wales-wide TV, radio, outdoor and online advertising will launch on Monday 19th January. In support of the mass media campaign, additional work is also being carried out to raise awareness and increase understanding of the organ donation choices available as part of the legislation across a range of specific target audiences, including workplaces across Wales.

Wales’ largest building society, Principality, is one of the first organisations to sign up in support of the campaign and will be working with the Welsh Government to provide information to its 1,000 employees over the coming months.

The Welsh Government is looking to join forces with other large private, public and voluntary sector employers in Wales to make sure employees across the country are aware of the impending changes to the law. These will include desk drops of information leaflets, display posters throughout offices, intranet information for all employees and information stands in communal areas.

Hannah Poulton, Principality Building Society’s Head of Multi-Channel Communications, said, “As a proud Welsh business we take our responsibilities to our staff seriously. We are happy to support the Welsh Government’s Time to Talk campaign as the vast majority of our employees are Welsh residents, so being aware and informed of the forthcoming legislation on organ donation is very important. 

“The workplace is where a lot of conversations take place and whatever their views, Principality employees need to be aware of the organ donation choices available to them before the law comes into force on 1st December 2015.”

One person who knows too well the importance of raising awareness about organ donation and its potential to save lives is Kayleigh Old from Danescourt in Cardiff. Dealing with Cystic Fibrosis has been a way of life for as long as she can remember.  Kayleigh, who currently works for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in Wales, was diagnosed when she was just two months old. She has received on-going treatment for the genetic disorder ever since, which affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver and intestine.

Since graduating from university, Kayleigh’s condition has deteriorated.  Her lung function has plummeted to below 30% of someone with healthy lungs and as a result she’s been on oxygen for the past year. Kayleigh has recently been put on the organ transplant waiting list and is now sitting tight for a suitable match.

“I’ve never really known any different, Cystic Fibrosis has been a way of life for me.  There have been really tough times when I’ve felt incredibly un-well, and then times when I’ve not felt quite so bad and things seem much more optimistic.

“The last year or so has been a complete roller coaster.  Because my lung function has dropped so considerably, I’m now unable to shower or cook for myself – I rely really heavily on my parents to do a lot for me."  

“My condition got to a point where it was time to be put on the organ transplant waiting list. I had my first meeting with the transplant team in July, and then found out I was due to be listed in October.  Of course it’s a real relief to be put on the list for a transplant, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.  However, it all feels very surreal. Because of my job and understanding of the process, I recognise that I’m still playing the waiting game, and I’m not out of the woods until a pair of lungs become available."

“I think what we’re doing here in Wales in terms of the changes to the organ donation law to an opt-out system is absolutely brilliant. By changing the system, more people will become aware of organ donation, and hopefully more people will consent to organ donation, which will in turn mean more organs available for transplantation."

"If I’m lucky enough to get a lung transplant, it will be a second chance – a magical second chance that I wouldn’t get if someone hadn’t agreed to be an organ donor.”

From 1 December 2015, the choices will be:

To be a donor, an individual can:

  • Register a decision to be a donor (opt in) or
  • Choose to do nothing. If you do nothing, you will be treated as if you have no objection to being an organ donor.

To not be a donor, an individual can:

  •  Register a decision not to be a donor (opt out)

Like the current system, anybody will be able to register a decision to donate all organs and tissues or to select specific organs or tissues. Until 1 December 2015, the current opt-in system continues and the deemed consent will not apply. 

More information can be found at www.organdonationwales.org. Any organisation who would like to become involved in the Time to Talk campaign should send an email initially to organ.donation@wales.gsi.gov.uk.

Published: 15/01/2015