A specialist organ donation nurse working at a North East health trust has helped double the amount of patients and families agreeing to give the gift of life.
Since her appointment two years ago, Tracey Carrott, who is based at Wansbeck General Hospital, has seen the number of families consenting to organ donation increase from seven donors in 2010/11 to 15 in 2012/13.
Thanks to Tracey’s dedicated role, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has also seen tissue donations increase by more than 60% since 2010/11, with 124 families consenting to donate tissue from their loved ones in the past year, including corneas, skin, bone, tendons, cartilage and heart valves.
As part of National Transplant Week, Tracey is sharing the ‘Pass It On’ message to encourage people to make their donation wishes known to their loved ones.
Although there are more than 700,000 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register in the North East, less than half of families agree to donation when their loved ones’ wishes are not spelled out.
Tracey said: “To donate an organ or tissue is a truly remarkable gift and helps the NHS to save hundreds of lives every single year.
“Being able to work in this dedicated role and having the time to spend with families has undoubtedly helped increase our donation numbers at Northumbria Healthcare. My job is about educating healthcare professionals, as well as patients and families, about donation and, most crucially, making sure people understand the consent process.
“Many people who are registered as organ donors may not realise that it is actually their family members who ultimately decide whether donation can go ahead.
“It is so important people talk to their loved ones about their organ donation wishes which is why we are supporting the National Transplant Week ‘Pass It On’ campaign.”
As reported in The Journal, new figures show that hundreds of people in the North East are waiting for a transplant and many have died in the region due to a shortage of organs.
Information released by NHS Blood and Transplant has shown that there are 216 people in the region waiting for a new organ.
And in the last four years 101 people have died while needing a transplant. Actors David Harewood and Wil Johnson, along with newsreader Kay Burley, now feature in a series of short films which inspire people to have a conversation about organ donation with their loved ones.
Also supporting the campaign is entrepreneur Richard Branson, whose film highlights the need for people to sign up to the lifesaving register.
NHS Blood and Transplant is encouraging people in the North East to watch the films at www.youtube.com/transplantweek and talk to those closest to them about their donation wishes.
While 95% of families agree to donation if a loved one has discussed their wishes and is registered on the Organ Donor Register, this drops to only 46% when donation wishes are not known.
To sign up to the organ donor register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk , text JOIN to 84880 or call 0300 123 23 23.