Local organ donation committees
Since 2008, every acute trust or hospital board in the UK has established an Organ Donation Committee.
The role of the organ donation committee
The role of the organ donation committee is to champion deceased donation processes and practice within hospital trusts and health boards. Additionally, organ donation committees have a duty to challenge and seek to overcome local barriers to donation, and promote donation within the local community.
There is a great deal of variety in hospitals’ experience of donation. For some organisations, donation is a reasonably common occurrence whereas other hospitals may only have two or three donors each year at most. This variation means that no two organ donation committees are the same and committees will tend to focus on different issues depending on their individual circumstances.
Chairs of these committees work collaboratively with clinical leads and specialist nurses for organ donation (CLODs and SNODs) and the other committee members to focus on four key areas of organ donation:
To ensure there are no missed donation opportunities in the hospital.
To ensure that hospital policies and guidelines support organ donation, are up to date and are in line with national guidance.
To ensure that any staff who may care for a potential donor are adequately trained.
To ensure the public, both within the hospital and the local community, can engage with organ donation through opportunities such as the annual Organ Donation Week event.
The role of the organ donation committee chair
The committee chair of a trust or health board organ donation committee is a voluntary role, undertaken by a wide variety of people from many different backgrounds. Committee chairs work closely with other principal members of the committee, such as the clinical lead for organ donation (CLOD) and the senior nurse - organ donation (SNOD).
Some chairs may be associated with hospitals in another capacity (for example as Chaplains or non-Executive Directors) whilst others may be lay people from the local community. Some may have personal experience and/or extensive knowledge of organ donation while others may take on the role with little or no understanding of donation at the outset.
Committee chairs are responsible for championing and promoting organ donation, establishing effective working relationships with key stakeholders within the hospital setting and the wider community, and are expected to provide a constructive challenge to organ donation barriers.
Just as there is a war memorial in every park, every hospital should have a donation memorial. It’s a small way to say to donors - you are not forgotten, and thank you
Clinical Lead for Organ Donation