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New drive to boost BAME organ donation

Only 7% of donors last year were from BAME backgrounds

Adrian O'Dowd

Friday, 20 July 2018

The government is launching a campaign designed to boost the number of organ donors from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

The new campaign aims to increase organ donation rates within BAME communities by raising awareness and breaking down barriers to donation.

It will be delivered by NHS Blood and Transplant with support from the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA) encouraging people to look into organ donation.

The campaign follows new figures from NHS Blood and Transplant in a report* that showed 21% of people who died on the waiting list last year were from a BAME background. That figure has risen from 15% a decade ago.

The report revealed that only 7% of donors last year were from BAME backgrounds although the figures are increasing thanks to more families saying yes to donation when asked in hospitals.

The report also showed that 12% of registrations as an organ donor in 2017-18 were made through GPs – the third most common method after driving licence applications and reminders through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (50%), and online registrations at the Organ Donation and Transplantation website itself (35%).

NHS Blood and Transplant said that family refusal was the biggest obstacle to organ donation among these communities and around half as many families support organ donation compared with families from a white background.

Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price said: “I am delighted that this year more people than ever from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds have received life-saving transplants.

“This shows great progress, but the fact remains that if you are from any one of these communities, you are more likely to need a transplant, for the simple reason that you are more likely to suffer from a disease that requires a transplant. At the same time, you are less likely to get a transplant than if you were white.

“The campaign we are launching today will be a driving force to save more lives. The government, MPs, faith leaders, charities, campaigners, influencers, friends and families all have a role to play to address myths and barriers and bring attention to the lifesaving power of donation.”

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation and nursing at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “While it is encouraging that more black, Asian and ethnic minority families are supporting donation – making more lifesaving transplants possible – change is not happening fast enough and too many lives are being lost.

“Although many black, Asian and ethnic minority patients are able to receive a transplant from a white donor, others may die if there is no donor from their own community. We are asking more people from these communities to talk about organ donation and share their donation decision with their families.”


*Organ Donation and Transplantation data for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities: Report for 2017/2018 (1 April 2013 – 31 March 2018). A report prepared by NHS Blood and Transplant, July 2018.

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