Flag up your willingness to be an organ donor on Facebook

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A new collaboration to help boost the number of people on the organ donor register has been announced by NHS Blood and Transplant and Facebook.

Facebook’s new Timeline enables people to post key life events and milestones to their profile.

And 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.

NHSBT already uses social media to engage with wide audiences and people can register to be an organ donor on NHSBT’s Facebook page.

The new initiative means people can log their support for organ donation on their Facebook Timeline and, if they wish, click through to NHSBT’s Facebook page to officially 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.

NHSBT’s director of organ donation and transplantation Sally Johnson said:

“We need more people to sign up to the register and share their wishes with their friends and family, our job is to make that as quick and easy as possible.

“This is an exciting new way to use the power of social media to reach a 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.

Currently around 10,000 people need a transplant in the UK and three people die every day waiting.

Facebook’s UK director of policy Simon Milner said: “Small acts of kindness happen every day on Facebook but we hope that our partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant will use the power of friendship to save lives.

“More than 30 million people in the UK will be able to show on their Timeline that they are either on the organ donation register already, or can register with the NHS on their Facebook page in a few simple steps.

“We hope that as a result of this partnership, UK Facebook users will together be able to reduce the number of people who needlessly die waiting for an organ each year.”