A new initiative encouraging loved ones to discuss their organ donation wishes is “a step in the right direction” in ensuring families are always included in the end-of-life care for their relatives, the Bishop for Healthcare has said.
The ‘Leave Them Certain’ campaign, launched by NHS Blood and Transplant, aims to encourage individuals to talk to their families and loved ones about their organ donation decisions. It comes following the introduction of an opt-out system for organ donation in England in May 2020.
Bishop Paul Mason has welcomed the campaign, explaining that while it may “seem a bit scary at first”, these conversations will leave relatives feeling confident that they are carrying out the deceased’s wishes at a very difficult and challenging time.
The Catholic Church has consistently encouraged its followers to consider organ donation, noting that the act of donating organs before or after death has been considered a gift and an intrinsic good.
However, it has spoken out against the introduction of the opt-out system in England, warning that a system of presumed consent risks taking away an individual’s right to exercise a freely made decision as to what happens to their body after death and therefore potentially undermines the concept of donation as a gift.
“I welcome the ‘Leave Them Certain’ initiative as a step in the right direction of ensuring that families are always included in the end-of-life care and decisions of their loved ones,” said Bishop Mason, adding that while it is difficult to speak about end of life issues, “having these conversations can help us to feel more at peace knowing that we are carrying out the wishes of those whom we love.”
“So, let’s start to talk more openly about organ donation and leave them certain.”
NHS Blood and Transplant said the law change has been “a pivotal moment” for organ donation in England and awareness amongst the public is now at 75 per cent. However, it noted that there is still a need for everyone in England to make their decision clear and talk to their loved ones about organ donation.
“Understanding the motivations for this conversation has been central to our new campaign – Leave Them Certain,” it said.