29/04/2013

Major Campaign To Be Launched To Increase Organ Donation

Health Minister Edwin Poots today announced that a major public information campaign would be launched to increase organ donation.

He also confirmed that the public will be asked their views on ways to maximise the organs available including changing to an opt-out system.

He said: "My overriding aim is to increase organ donation. This can be aided by increasing public support for organ donation so that, when the time comes, all of us can expect to be asked to donate the organs of our family members to help others to enjoy the gift of life. I want organ donation to be seen as the norm in our society. Public understanding is critical in making this happen and that is why I have asked the Public Health Agency (PHA) to organise a public information campaign to enhance awareness and understanding and encourage everyone to take action to support organ donation."
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Speaking ahead of an All-Party Group meeting on organ donation in Stormont where his officials were due to update MLAs on the initiative, Mr Poots said that the public in Northern Ireland will also get the opportunity to have its say on boosting donation rates.

He said: "To prepare for this campaign, a public engagement programme will be carried out to increase our understanding of the key factors which need to be addressed to ensure an increase in the availability of organs for transplantation. This will inform future action to promote organ donation in Northern Ireland, including legislation, if required. I will ask the public and those who are most closely involved in promoting organ donation, including service providers, charities and donor families, for their views on an opt out system and other measures directed at achieving this aim."

The Minister said he had been encouraged by the significant progress that had been made in increasing organ donation over the past five years in Northern Ireland and the significant health benefits that this can bring to recipients of donated organs, but said that this had only reinforced his view that we can do much more to further increase the number of donated organs.

(CD)

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