|Early morning at Westminster|
|Cromwell Statue near Cromwell Entrance|
|Passes for the day|
We made our way to Westminster Hall, where we were then escorted to Room 11, where the meeting was to take place. It was quite a long way from the entrance, so I was so relieved that we had made all the effort to bring the wheelchair with us. The way to Room 11 was very wheelchair friendly with ramps and lifts along the way and the staff were really friendly and helpful. As we were making our way, we were surprised to see Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson go whizzing past in her wheelchair, but there was no way Rob could keep up with her speeding along, after all she is a paralympic wheelchair marathon runner. We have a way to go yet on that score, being quite new to the wheelchair community. Once outside Room 11, we met up with Anne and her dad and it was nice to see a friendly face, which helped me feel more at ease. Our friend Tom also arrived, who had asked to come and support us.
|Inside Room 11|
The members of the panel then explained their roles and involvement with organ donation and transplant and gave updates on their relevant fields. Their roles were varied and covered many facets of the 'transplant industry' and their input to the meeting prompted very useful discussion from the audience. Many members of the audience were members of the public like ourselves, who's lives had been profoundly affected by organ donation and transplant.
Some important points came from all the discussions, which will hopefully be taken forward by the panel:
- there are c.7,500 people awaiting a transplant of some kind with some 19 million registered donors. 3 people a day still die needlessly waiting for a transplant;
- although family consent rates are high at 90% for someone who has previously registered as a donor, these rates drop to a shocking 40% in England for someone who hasn't previously registered to be a donor: a very emotive discussion ensued on this and calls by the audience to get the law changed e.g. "opt out";
- more education is needed to make organ donation part of our culture, a way of life, a social responsibility - something that becomes the norm. Scotland has been very successful at improving rates by blunt and even shocking campaigns and, importantly, has included an awareness of organ donation in the school curriculum;
- there is a need to continue the work to increase the numbers on the organ donor register through both local and national initiatives and a sharing of best practices;
- although it looked likely that Transplant 2013 would fall short of its target for increasing donor numbers (50%), a healthy percentage increase has still been achieved (34%);
- a lack of funding is impacting on national marketing but in any event the view was more could be done nationally to champion and support local initiatives;
- local initiatives are usually very effective where someone affected by transplant is known and there is a personal story, and play a huge part in increasing the numbers on the donor register;
- a continuing education and training of hospital staff (even possible targeting ) to ensure that opportunities for donor organs are maximised and not missed;
- maximising use of social networking and media to publicise organ donation;
- in certain areas, targeting of prevention measures could be more effective (e.g. 20% of people awaiting liver transplants) have preventable conditions.
|Anne and I in Westminster Hall|
Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Transplantation
Some of the people making valuable contributions to the debate
Chris Bryon -Edmund , whose daughter Lottie was the youngest baby in the world to survive liver transplant:
Sue Reid, Aunt to Will Pope, who is waiting for heart transplant and featured on Tonight's programme, 'Waiting for a Heart'
Facebook: Let's Raise Awareness for Will Pope & Organ Donation
Steve Gazzard, who lost his daughter Sarah recently waiting for transplant and is now doing great work increasing donors in Exmouth
Facebook: Steve Gazzard