New Dying Matters partnership urges public to share organ donation plans

14 January 2014
Dying Matters and the National Council for Palliative Care have joined forces with NHS Blood and Transplant in a new partnership to encourage more people to tell their loved ones whether they want to be an organ donor.

Dying Matters, which is led by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), wants more people to think about and plan for their end of life, including through sharing their organ donation wishes. If you have decided to be an organ donor it is vital to tell your loved ones. Research carried out in England for NHS Blood and Transplant has revealed that only 31 percent of families said they would agree to donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s decision to donate.

While more than 500,000 people die each year, fewer than 5,000 die in circumstances where they can donate their organs, so it is important that every potential donor who wants to donate lets their family know what they want. Doing so can remove the burden of them having to guess at a difficult time.

Organ donation leaflet As part of a three year partnership between NCPC and NHS Blood and Transplant, this call to action to discuss organ donation will be widely promoted to members of the 30,000-strong Dying Matters coalition, which has members from across the voluntary, public and commercial sectors. Dying Matters and NHS Blood and Transplant have recently produced a joint leaflet urging people to make their organ donation decision known. The partnership was announced at an event on 13 January to launch this year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week, which takes place from 12-18 May 2014

Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition (pictured above, right, with Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant), said: "Although progress is being made, too many of us are still shunning or leaving too late the important conversations that can help avoid heartbreak and regret at the end of life and also save other lives.

“That’s why we are delighted to be working in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant to help encourage and support people across the UK to make their wishes about organ donation known and to stimulate public discussion on such an important issue.”

Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, added: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the National Council for Palliative Care and its Dying Matters Coalition because their focus on end of life care fits well with us wanting to raise understanding of the need for people to tell their loved ones about their organ donation decision.

“People only die once and both of our organisations want people’s decisions about what should happen in the event of their death to be followed but this is more difficult if you don’t make your wishes known and leave those around you to guess.

“Every potential organ donor can save or transform up to nine lives and we know this legacy can provide comfort and be a source of pride for their family.

“Please tell those closest to you about your organ donation decision, and record it by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.”

Download our new organ donation leaflet (pdf)

Order our new organ donation leaflet (pack of 75 leaflets, £9.00 plus p&p).

Your stories: How honouring our daughter's wish to be an organ donor helped us when she died

To find out more about why it is so important to tell your loved ones about your organ donation decision and to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit or call 0300 123 23 23.

This year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week takes place between May 12 and 18 with the theme ‘Dying Matters: You only die once’. To find out more visit

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In the words of others...

‘How people die remains in the memory of those who live on.’

Dame Cicely Saunders (founder of the modern hospice movement)

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