This is my last blog before the Christmas and New Year break. I will be having a few days off. Monday began at the West End Donor Centre with a number of 1:1s and a conversation with our internal auditor about risk management. On Monday we also kicked off a partnership with Tinder, the dating app (so I am told!). It is too soon to tell how effective this has been but the idea is that if you swipe on the photos of some famous celebrities you are presented with a prompt about organ donation. It certainly created a lot of positive media attention.

Tuesday was again at the West End with a meeting on performance Management. Wednesday was in Watford and I spent the day with each of the Directors and their teams discussing performance on a team by team basis. We also had our monthly review of the progress of the Transformation Programme. Headline was that a great deal of progress has been made and much credit to Denise Dourado and her team who work with people across the organisation to ensure that our projects deliver.

Thursday and Friday have been days off.

One of the things I have also been talking about with colleagues this last couple of weeks is how we get more widespread interest in the shortage of Black and Asian donors. We have made a couple of You Tube films recently which may be worth a watch. This is me and Orin Lewis from the Afro Caribbean Leukaemia Trust here and this is George the Poet, telling the inspiring Human Story .

I tweeted the film of me and Orin donating and got no retweets. I tweeted a few things on the Tinder story and got many re-tweets. Either I am profoundly un-photogenic (which I accept may be true!) or, more seriously there is an unwillingness to tell and share stories about Black and Asian issues.

Bottom line is that Black and Asian people are not getting the health outcomes they deserve. The answer lies in more donors from those communities. Next year this is something I want to do more work on. Serious question – if you have thoughts on what you can do to help solve this problem then let me know.

We go into next year in a good position as a team. Blood and tissue stocks are stronger than last year and organ donation is picking up over the last few months, albeit still much work to do there. Our IT projects are doing well and our planned data room moves and desktop pilots are on track. Digital services within the health sector more widely are also on the march.  I don’t doubt that the wider NHS has a challenging year ahead but we are well placed to support hospitals and patients.

Thank you for everything you have done this year, have a great Christmas and Happy New Year. I’ll see you next year.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • A few years ago I ran a national community BAME Radio campaign with the Community Media Association, broadcasting organ donation messages in indigenous languages. We covered big cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham and met some amazing BAME community volunteers who enthusiastically took up NHSBT campaigns and broadcast to their communities. What I personally took away from the experience was that we need to focus primarily on second and third generation migrants who’ve grown up in Britain and to make the donor message more interesting. This is prime ground for spoofing – just find some young BAME radio production artists and give them the freedom to make something funny!

  • Hi Ian
    We need a BIG campaign to highlight the shortage of donors with ethnic origin.
    I suggest the mnemonic ‘BAME’ should be changed altogether, as it sounds ridiculous and offensive. Why do we have to address people as ‘Minority’ in this world of Equality and Diversity? It is irrelevant.
    If we have no option, but to keep BAME, could the mnemonic be re-arranged to read BEAM? The graphic imagery associated with BEAM could be used positively – i.e. BEAM of light, BEAMING smile, lazer BEAM, etc.
    We could approach high profile Black and Asian role models: actors, sports people, TV and film personalities, NHS clinicians and our own staff from ethnic backgrounds, to help promote the shortage.
    Would be happy to ring them.
    Happy New Year!
    Jacqui Sanders, PA/Secretary – ‘Beaming’ from ODT Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

    • Jacqui, thanks for the response and I appreciate your support. Lots of work of the sort you describe is going on with local groups up and down the country. Like you I haven’t found many people who like the BAME mnemonic, albeit it is used extensively by a variety of organisations. I would rather just not use this sort of shorthand at all, and instead focus on the actual problem which is we particularly need more black, and black heritage, blood donors to support African and Caribbean multi-transfused patients (Sickle cell and Leukaemia mainly) and we need more Asian heritage organ donors. As a result Black patients do less well tha they would otherwise do and Asian patients wait longer for some organs than an equivalent white patient. There has been an understandable caution about talking about this sort of thing for fear of getting the language wrong and being seen as offensive in some way. I hope that by talking about it we can get the message across without causing any offence, but I am willing to run the risk of causing offence to some, as the broader issue is too important to ignore.

  • Hi Jaqui

    BAME is the mnemonic chosen by ethnic minorities for whom governments have had to pass anti-racism and anti-discrimination laws. The same for a whole host of other ‘minority’ groups with similar mnemonics. All of whom have suffered for the right to define themselves and be recognised. Any amount of nifty marketing does not make the world a more acceptable place to live in.

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