NHS Blood and Transplant has released the results of a survey showing that only one in twenty people in England and Wales spending time with family at Christmas will be discussing organ donation.
According to the poll, 83 per cent of people in England and Wales said they would be spending Christmas with family this year
But family chats about holidays and the weather are much more likely to take place than about organ donation.
Anthony Clarkson, Acting Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Don’t miss the opportunity to discuss organ donation when you’re with your family this Christmas. We know that Christmas is a time for enjoying ourselves and talking about the nice things in life like future holidays.
"But for people in need of an organ, Christmas is a very difficult time so we are urging everybody to talk about organ donation. If you know you want to donate your organs when you die, tell those around you. Doing so can help remove the burden of those closest to you having to guess what you would have wanted in difficult circumstances later on.”
Telling your loved ones about your organ donation decision is vital, say campaigners on the issue.
In a separate piece of research carried out in England, only 31 per cent of families said they would agree to donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s decision to donate.
Fewer than 5,000 people each year die in circumstances where they can donate their organs, so we need to ensure that every potential donor who wants to donate is not prevented from doing so because they have not told their family.
NHS Blood and Transplant is asking people to tell their families this Christmas that they want to donate their organs, and to record their decision by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Supporting this initiative is fleshandblood, a campaign to encourage the church to see blood and organ donation as part of its giving.
Founded as a partnership between Kore and NHS Blood and Transplant, the campaign aims to raise the profile of donation within the church and encourage donation as a personal gift.
* More about Fleshandblood on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/fleshandblood
* To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, go to: www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
* For more information or resources to help churches engage with organ donation see www.fleshandblood.org
* Christmas on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/christmas