Friday, 12 July 2013

More on National Transplant Week July 2013

Afternoon tea in the marquee
We are now at the end of National Transplant Week 2013 and I think it has been a very successful week for raising awareness of the need for more organ donors. Rob and I managed to feature in the local Hertfordshire Mercury, which has coverage throughout a large area of Hertfordshire and hopefully the feature may have encouraged people to have the discussion with their families and sign up to be organ donors. Here is the link for the article:

Rob also tried to encourage his work colleagues to sign up too through sending a simple email; he's got at least about twenty more people signed up to be organ donors. Quite a few said that they had thought about doing so, but just hadn't got round to it, which just goes to show one little prompt and many people will sign up.  

National Transplant Week got much TV, radio and press coverage again, both local and national and it was good to see Papworth on the local Anglia news again promoting National Transplant Week, the link is below:

We were lucky to be invited to a National Transplant Week event, which was on Thursday, a gorgeous sunny day and held in a marquee in the field area that leads down to the duck pond at Papworth Hospital, where they gave us an update on what is being done nationally and what they are doing to promote organ donation and get more organ donors. It was very helpful as we got to to ask questions to the consultants and team about all aspects of transplant.

One of the main questions from our table, where three of us are waiting for heart and double lung transplants, was why there were so few heart and double lung transplants taking place - only two were done at Papworth in the last financial year -  and was anything being done to help this particular situation. The answer was that the main reason for this was the big shortage of organs and the fact that two lives could be saved instead of just one if the heart and lungs were split and even three lives could be saved if the lungs were split. So the answer is to keep on trying both nationally, locally and personally to find effective ways to increase the amount of people on the organ donor register. The more donor organs that are available, the more chance there is to get a transplant requiring three organs or a transplant of any kind.

Beautiful grounds at Papworth
There has been a lot of work to increase the number of specialist trained transplant co- ordinators in hospitals throughout the country so opportunities for the transplant process can be maximised and we are only just beginning to see the benefits from this. A major hurdle now is the lack of A & E beds, which is a big issue that needs addressing in this country and mainly not for the transplant issue. Many people are not able to be treated properly in A & E in the first place as there are not enough beds for hospital admission compared to demand and lives are being lost. This in turn impacts on the transplant process too, but needs addressing primarily to save the lives of sick people who needlessly die waiting for treatment. Not a good thing to be hearing about when you are ill with a condition that requires you to go to A & E at times.  

The Transplant Team
There are several controversial initiatives being discussed at the moment, firstly last week, the opt out system in Wales was passed and is to come into place in 2015, which has aroused much interest, because there will be presumed consent if someone doesn't agree with donating their organs, but hasn't been bothered to actually opt out. Then, this week the NHSBT, very aptly during National Transplant Week, announced their five year plan, which included considering giving people who are already registered as organ donors priority on the list and having the ability to override the families' wishes should they refuse to donate a loved one's organs when they are a registered organ donor. All pretty controversial stuff, but it has got a lot of people discussing organ donation both personally and in the media, which is a good thing for the moment whatever happens in the future. As they say all publicity good or bad is publicity and gets people talking.

If you want to sign up to the organ donor register or find out more about NHSBT's new strategy click on:

Three ladies in waiting
We had a good time at Papworth, it is always nice to be there for something other than hospital appointments or hospital stays and all the prodding and poking that goes with it! We got chance to meet up with Stacie and her twin sister Megan and Bernice joined us too and we got to chat with quite a few of the transplant staff.  We had a lovely afternoon tea and for some, a glass of champagne and the event finished with a band, where two members had had double lung transplants, which was really encouraging.
Early evening entertainment

Ever wondered what to do with a spare sharps bucket? Champagne on ice anyone?

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