Facebook helps organ donation

The NHS has joined forces with Facebook to help boost the number of people on the organ donor register.

Facebook’s new Timeline allows people to post key life events and milestones to their profile. Now, by clicking a new health and wellbeing button, this can include their intention to become an organ donor - with the added benefit of sharing that information with friends and family.

It means people can register to be an organ donor on the NHS Blood and Transfusion’s Facebook page. The new initiative means people can log their support for organ donation on their Facebook Timeline and, if they want, click through to NHSBT’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/organdonationuk to register.

People who use Facebook will not have officially registered their wishes unless they sign-up to the ODR. But even if they don’t actually register, they will still be sharing their views with friends and family which is a crucial part of organ donation. Over 30 million people in the UK use Facebook.

Sally Johnson, NHSBT’s Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, said: “We need more people to sign up to the register and share their wishes with their friends and family. This is an exciting new way to use the power of social media to reach huge audience and encourage people to think about it, act, and share that information.”

Evidence shows only 50 per cent of those who wish to donate organs after death let their families know. Relatives who know about wishes to donate are 50 per cent more likely to agree to donation. Each time consent is given for organ donation, this can save or improve the lives of up to nine people.