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Launch a campaign to increase the number of BAME organ donors

Last updated: 10:07am 20 June 2019

We will launch a national campaign to increase the number of Black, Asian and ethnic minority organ donors to cut the long waiting times for patients from those groups and save more lives.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.56

Our verdict

At the most recent national census in 2011, black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups (including those identifying as “Other”) made up approximately 14% of the population. However, figures for 2017/18 show that just 5.5% of deceased organ donors were black or of mixed or Asian heritage. The discrepancy is less stark for living organ donors, with 13% of all living donors coming from BAME communities. Ethnic background is often a determining factor in making a match for a successful transplant, so the shortfall in BAME donors has significant consequences. For example, NHS Blood and Transplant says:

“There is a longer waiting time for kidney transplants for black and Asian patients v white patients (average wait approx. 2.5 years v 2 years for a white patient)”

This policy is a pledge to initiate a campaign to increase the number of BAME donors.

In July 2018, the government announced a national campaign which fulfils this promise. It includes a community investment scheme to help “address myths and barriers and bring attention to the lifesaving power of donation”.

In September 2018, NHS Blood and Transplant published a funding call for organisations to apply for funding under the new campaign.

The national campaign was announced in July 2018; the funding call in September 2018 is evidence that the campaign is under way. This policy only promised to “launch” the campaign, so we’re giving it a status of ‘done’. Nonetheless, we will keep tracking to see if the campaign results in improved rates of BAME organ donation, so follow this policy to stay informed.

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