People in Wales will now be able to join the Organ Donor Register when they visit their local pharmacy as part of the Donate Wales Tell a Loved One campaign.
Registration leaflets and dispensers have been delivered to all 719 pharmacies in Wales including high street retailers and independent stores. As part of the campaign’s latest drive to make it even easier for those who want to help to join the Register, leaflets, dispensers and posters have also been delivered to more than 600 GP surgeries, opticians and dentistry practices across Wales.
The leaflets have been delivered to mark Transplant Week, which starts today.
Launched in May, the Donate Wales Tell a Loved One campaign, which is being led by the Kidney Wales Foundation and funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, aims to encourage more people to join the Organ Donor Register and to tell their friends and families about their donation wishes.
This is because currently four in ten families refuse to allow their loved ones organs to be donated when asked often simply because they didn’t know what they would have wanted.
Since the launch of the campaign in May this year, another 12 people have been added to the waiting list in Wales for a transplant bringing the total figure to 487. Sadly because of the shortage of donors, 150 people have died in Wales in the last five years waiting for that second chance a transplant could have given them many just young children.
Minister for Health and Social services Edwina Hart visited a pharmacy in Cardiff to see first hand how the campaign was reaching people who wanted to pledge the gift of life.
She said: Discussing what happens to us and our organs after we die are things most people don’t really want to think about but it is important for people to discuss the possibility with family members.
Simply by having leaflets and registration forms in pharmacies creates a talking point that will hopefully start conversations between potential donors and their families resulting in their wishes being carried out after their death.
We hope this new stage in the campaign will result in even more people registering for organ donation. By having registration forms and dispensers at pharmacies it gives people the opportunity to sign up in an easy and convenient way.
This is the first time that we have had such a campaign to increase organ donation in Wales through a variety of partnerships. I’m delighted that every single pharmacy in Wales has signed up to take part in this drive.
Raj Aggarwal, Chairman of Trustees at the Kidney Wales Foundation, said: Local pharmacies are an integral part of many Welsh communities. By giving people the chance to pick up a registration form when they’re collecting their prescription, we hope that many more people will act on their good intentions, join the Organ Donor Register and tell their loved ones about their donation wishes.
The campaign aims to help people like 14-year-old Sahibaa Ali from Newport who suffers with kidney failure and is a patient at the Children’s Kidney Unit at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales.
She said: I was born with kidney problems and over the years my kidney function has just deteriorated more and more. I’ve been on dialysis since last year and I know my only real hope of leading a normal life is a transplant, which is why I hope this campaign is a real success.
For more information or to join the Organ Donor Register visit www.donatewales.org or call 0845 60 60 400.