Organ Donation Week marked the end of my commitment to blog every working week for a year. It has been an incredible experience and I have been continually surprised by the positivity with which my blog has been received and the way in which it has enabled me to reach out to colleagues across our UK wide organisation and across the world. I hope you will therefore bear with me as I take the opportunity with this, my final weekly blog, to look back on my personal highlights from the year.
My blogging experience has been topped and tailed by Organ Donation Week and, for me as for everyone working in ODT, this is a very special and invigorating period. I have been fortunate enough to be the public face of organ donation for both weeks, an experience which involved some frantic running from studio to studio but which was made more than worthwhile by the opportunities to meet inspirational donor families and recipients and get the Organ Donation message out to the public.
I am delighted to hear from my colleagues in Communications that Organ Donation Week 2017 has been a great success with tens of thousands of our fellow citizens being inspired to join the Organ Donor Register and talk with their families and friends about their donation decision. I know how much planning and effort goes into the week from all of us across NHSBT: without the innovations and enthusiasm of all concerned the week could be a total wash out! So, I am proud to have had my first and last blogs focusing on a period that truly exemplifies the commitment of my colleagues in NHSBT to saving and improving lives through Organ Donation.
For me, one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the past year was my visit as part of the healthcare leadership programme to Uganda. The aim of the visit was that UK healthcare leaders would have the opportunity to share their experiences and practices with our Ugandan colleagues and help them to improve the care they offer. I do believe that we did achieve that but I also know that I learned a great deal from the inspirational Nurses and healthcare workers who strive to deliver the best possible care in the most strained of financial scenarios. One of my Ugandan colleagues, Ekelliot Isaac provided an inspirational guest blog in which he talked about his life as a charge nurse at the Princess Diana Memorial Hospital in Soroti.
I encourage any of you who have not read Isaac’s blog to nip over and take a look. We all have moments when we grumble about resources and the restrictions placed upon our work by the need for financial restraint. I truly believe that hearing about the challenges that Isaac faces every day as he tries to care for his patients and the enthusiasm and commitment with which he rises to meet those challenges should make us all feel a lot better about the conditions in which we all work.
In April I was delighted to share with you all that Organ Donation had had another record year. In 2016/17 we facilitated 1412 deceased organ donations and those remarkable donors allowed over 3700 organ transplants to take place, every single one of these transforming the life of the recipient. I still firmly believe that few areas in the NHS has such meaningful performance data as we do in Organ Donation where we save lives with every donation. Our goals for this year are even more challenging. We hope to achieve the landmark of 1500 deceased organ donations in the UK. I hope, come April, we will have some very good news to share with you all!
I won’t be blogging on a weekly basis anymore. A year of me is more than enough I am sure! However, there are so many exciting innovations and plans in Organ Donation that I am sure I will give in to temptation on occasion and blog to talk about specific issues or events. For my next project I will be taking to the Twittersphere so please do follow me @AJClarksonNHS and join in! Thank you to each and every one of you who has taken the time to find, read and respond to my blogs, I have loved every minute and hope you found it of interest too.
With very best wishes until the next time.
Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director -Organ Donation and Nursing
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