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Have the organ donation heart to heart to leave your families certain

Posted: 24 September 2021

Picture of the organ donation heart logo

NHS Blood and Transplant and West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust are calling on people this Organ Donation Week to talk to their families about their decision to join the NHS Organ Donation Register to leave them certain about their decision.

Having the conversation means that should the time come and families are approached by an organ donation specialist nurse in hospital, they can be certain about a loved one’s decision. Nine in 10 families support organ donation going ahead when they know that's what their loved ones wanted.

Nearly 460,000 people in Hertfordshire are already on the NHS Organ Donor Register. The organ donation law changed in England in May 2020 and all adults are now considered to have agreed to donate their own organs when they die, unless they have recorded a decision not to donate, belong to an excluded group or have told their family that they don’t want to donate.

This year, organ donation has also been added to the national curriculum for the first time and family members, whatever their age, are being encouraged to get together to talk about their own organ donation decisions. Relatives will always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead and each year, opportunities for transplants are missed because families aren't sure what to do.

Becky Gorf, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation, said: "Knowing what your relative wanted, helps families to support their loved one’s decision around organ donation at what is a very difficult time.

"We need more people to talk with their loved ones about organ donation to give them the certainty they need to support their decision. These conversations are especially important for local residents from Black and Asian backgrounds. People from these communities are more likely to need a transplant, but often wait longer as the best chance of a match will often come from someone of the same ethnicity."

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust is now asking people locally to tell their families that they want to donate after their death to ensure more lives are saved and is also encouraging staff to spread the message via a ‘heart’ walk or run.

Staff are being asked to use a tracking app to capture a heart-shaped route and share a screenshot on social media using hashtags such as #leavethemcertain, #organdonationweek, #yesido.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant said: "We are very grateful to the trust for its support during Organ Donation Week.

"Even now the law has changed, families will continue to be approached before organ donation goes ahead. It remains so important to talk to your families and ensure they know what you would want to happen.

"Register your organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and tell your family the choice you have made. If the time comes, we know families find the organ donation conversation much easier if they already know what their relative wanted."

To find out more and register your decision, visit the NHS Organ Donor Register at and share your decision with your family. Users of the NHS app, can also use this to record, check or amend their details or decision.


  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: Out of hours, please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  2. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit You can also join our followers on Twitter ( and find us on Facebook (