ORGAN donation campaigners in Leeds are urging more people to discuss the issue online.
Yorkshire’s Be A Hero campaign has made the plea after revealing that while people in Leeds are more likely to make big announcements online, discussing organ donation is not one of them.
The campaign has now launched the #DonationConversation ahead of Organ Donation Week, which runs from Monday September 2.
A total of 46 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds surveyed across the country admitted to using social media as a platform to share important news and announcements, from career changes to getting engaged, followed by a third of 18 to 24-year-olds.
In comparison, less than 10 per cent of people aged over 55 surveyed said they would choose social media to break news of this kind.
A total of 41 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds surveyed in Leeds surveyed said they make big announcements on social media - the biggest proportion across the UK - compared to less than 10 per cent in Birmingham and only five per cent in Newcastle.
The research was conducted by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in conjunction with the Be A Hero campaign.
The campaign aims to encourage more people to have the organ donation conversation and brave discussing their wishes with their loved ones.
However, the research also found less than half of Leeds residents would have a face-to-face conversation with their family about organ donation, with only 46 per cent saying they would talk about the topic with their nearest and dearest, compared to 74 per cent in Manchester and 76 per cent in Liverpool.
Dr Claire Tordoff, cinical lead in organ donation, at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Some of the most poignant conversations for our younger patients and within communities are taking place online - whether it’s asking someone out on a date, ending a relationship or announcing big news, social media has changed the way we conduct these discussions and it’s time for organ donation to be included.
“This is hugely important research as we spend a lot of time encouraging our patients and the general public to have what we’re calling the ‘Donation Conversation’ with their loved ones.
"Many people don’t realise that signing the organ donation register won’t guarantee that your organs are given to those in need of a transplant in the event of your death.
"Rather, it is your family that will be given the final decision, whether or not you have consented. Therefore, it is incredibly important that your family understand your wishes surrounding organ donation!”
Dr Cathy Penrose, also a clinical Lead in organ donation, said: “It is fundamental that we encourage people to have the Donation Conversation.
"Choose a place you feel most comfortable discussing your wishes, whether it’s online or face-to-face.
"We want to shine a spotlight on the importance of letting your family and friends know how you feel about organ donation, as it will help them make the decision at the hardest time if put in the situation.
“This isn’t a conversation that can be put off until tomorrow – it’s one we must all encourage to have today in order to make sure our loved ones’ final wishes are respected.”
Be A Hero has launched its first ever social media initiative with a view to encourage young people to have the ‘#DonationConversation’ with their nearest and dearest.
To find out more about organ donation, please visit www.leedsth.nhs.uk/beahero You can also sign up to the donor register by calling 0300 123 23 23.