Let me begin by updating you on some of our current work at NHS Golden Jubilee. During the COVID-19 crisis NHS Golden Jubilee continues to be the main cardiology centre for the West of Scotland. Our cardiac and thoracic surgeons continue to perform life-saving surgeries and over this period we have performed many heart transplants and improved many lives through our critical to life heart, lung and cancer services.
Like the rest of the NHS in Scotland NHS Golden Jubilee stopped planned surgery in the first weeks of the pandemic and focussed initially on providing intensive care support for both COVID and NON COVID patients when ICU capacity in other West of Scotland sites neared capacity.
In the early summer we extended our work to treat patients with other serious conditions such as cancer, to take the pressure away from local NHS services while they treat people with COVID-19.
On 1 July we resumed planned care in key demand specialties. This meant that we could start work on planned heart and lung procedures again.
One of the national campaigns NHS Golden Jubilee supports in September every year is Organ Donation Week. This offers an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for organ donation and to celebrate those who give the ultimate gift. At NHS Golden Jubilee we know organ donation really is the ultimate gift of life. Just one organ donor can save or transform up to nine lives.
This year’s Organ Donation Week was meant to be the launch of Scotland’s new ‘opt out’ system. Originally the change in the law was planned for Autumn this year but due to the pandemic it was pushed back to March 2021.
The changes to the law in Scotland will mean all adults will be considered willing to donate when they die, unless they have recorded a reason not to, have told their family they don't want to or are in one of the excluded groups. Adults covered by the change will still have a choice whether they want to be an organ donor, and their families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead.
The sad reality is that in Scotland, 550 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant and according to statistics from Organ Donation Scotland, 47 people died last year while waiting for a transplant.
I fully understand how important it is for families to make a decision in a way that honours their faith, beliefs and values. Organ donation can offer comfort to the families of donors through the knowledge that something remarkable and truly incredible comes from their loss - the transformation of another’s life.
One of the hardest discussions NHS staff have with families around organ donation, is when they don’t know their loved one’s organ donation decision.
So please let your family know your organ donation decision so they can honour your wishes to give the gift of life.