The Royal Free London has become the first large organisation in the country to pledge its support for organ donation by actively encouraging staff to discuss the subject with their families.

At the Royal Free Hospital, staff carry out more than 200 liver and kidney transplants each year and retrieve donated organs from around the UK and, in some instances, abroad, in order to give patients a life-saving operation. There is a large group of surgeons, hepatologists, nephrologists, specialist nurses and other healthcare professionals who ensure patients get the best care.

However, in the UK only about one in five people whose organs could be used to help someone else ends up becoming a donor, and often this is because families do not give their consent.

There is a shortage of organs available for those who need them. Across Britain, three people die every day while waiting on the transplant list and so the Royal Free London wants to ensure as many people as possible talk openly about signing the organ donor register.

As a result the executive committee has agreed to actively encourage all its staff to discuss organ donation with their friends and family.

The trust will now work towards including organ donation, and the trust’s work with transplants, as part of the induction programme for new staff.

David Sloman, the chief executive of the Royal Free London, said: “I am delighted the Royal Free London has become the first large trust in the UK to pledge support for organ donation in this way.

“The Royal Free Hospital is a major centre in the UK for liver and kidney transplants so we know the difference a transplant operation can make to patients’ lives. We know that we could save many more lives if more people signed up to the organ donor register and if more people talked about it with their families.”

Bimbi Fernando, transplant surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital, said: “I am pleased the trust has pledged to encourage staff to talk about organ donation with their families and to make this part of the induction programme.

“We are desperately short of organs for transplantation and we know that if more families agreed to their loved ones becoming donors we would be able to save many more lives. It is important for people to talk about this subject with their families – it makes it much more likely that consent by next of kin will be given and the organs will be used to help others.”

The trust has produced a film on organ donation to mark national transplant week.

Sign up to the organ donor register.


Image: Transplant surgeon Bimbi Fernando

Notes to editors

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About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read 'A bigger trust, a better future'.