UTV's From The Heart boosts NI donors

UTV's From The Heart boosts NI donors

The campaign to encourage more people to sign the organ donor register - aired on UTV earlier this year - sent sign-up figures in Northern Ireland soaring, the NHS has found.

In February 2012, just 232 people in Northern Ireland registered their wish to donate their organs.

But in February 2013, during the From The Heart campaign on UTV and across the ITV regions, the figure spiked to 1,572 - marking a seven-fold increase.

UK-wide, nearly 62,000 people pledged their organs during the campaign period, compared with just over 5,600 during the same period last year.

More women than men signed up - 77% in Northern Ireland and 72% nationally.

The campaign, which coincided with Valentine's Day, featured a range of special reports and programmes looking at the implications of the donor shortage and the reasons behind it.

I really believe that lives will be saved as a result of this campaign.

Lynda Hamlyn, NHS Blood & Transplant

Recipients of donor organs also featured and showed how everyone has the opportunity to make a difference, giving a gift that could transform the lives of others.

As well as boosting donor numbers, From The Heart hoped to improve family consent rates by raising awareness about the importance of knowing the potential donor's wishes.

In a letter to Peter Fincham, the Director of Television at ITV in London, the chief executive of NHS Blood and Transplant expressed gratitude to ITV, STV and UTV for the campaign.

"This campaign has engaged the public and increased understanding of the need for more organ donors on a scale that we simply could never have achieved on our own," Lynda Hamlyn said.

"The week generated unprecedented numbers of people joining the Organ Donor Register."


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