The NHS team promoting organ donation has scooped a top UK public relations award.

Bristol-based UK Transplant won first prize in the Healthcare Category of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations' Excellence Awards for its year-long campaign to mark the 10th anniversary of the NHS Organ Donor Register.

The campaign, which launched a "One Million Challenge", set out to encourage an extra million people to add their names to the lifesaving register during the anniversary year and included promotional events throughout the UK.

It triggered nationwide media coverage and ensured that the "magic million" was achieved three weeks ahead of target.

This week's award (3 July) comes just four years after UK Transplant created a new communications and public relations department with the brief to increase awareness of organ donation and transplantation and encourage 16 million people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register by 2010.

CIPR Director General Colin Farrington said: "The number of entries received this year was unprecedented. The standard of the winners and the finalists demonstrate the good work being done in the industry and the contribution PR makes to business and society.

"The Excellence Awards judging process is tough and competition is strong, so winning an award is a great achievement. It is confirmation that UK Transplant's campaign is amongst the best in Britain."

UK Transplant Director of Communications and Public Relations, Penny Hallett, said: "This award is a wonderful achievement, not just for UK Transplant but for the whole transplant community.

"It pays tribute to the kindness and generosity of donor families and to the 13.4 million people who have registered their wishes to give the gift of life after their death."

-- Last year (2005-06), 2,795 people received a life-saving or life-enhancing organ transplant. The majority, 2,197, were from 766 people who became organ donors after their death.

-- A further 2,502 people received the gift of sight thanks to a cornea transplantation.

-- A total of 590 people received a kidney transplant from a living donor - a close relative or friend - the highest number ever.

-- Despite those successes, almost 500 people died waiting for a transplant because no suitable donated organ was available. Currently, more than 8,000 people need an organ transplant.

-- To date, 13.4 million people have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register, the confidential, electronic database of those who have registered their wish to help others live in the event of their death. The ODR was set up in 1994 and is maintained by UK Transplant.

-- People can join the ODR by contacting the Organ Donor Line on 0845 60 60 400 or visiting uktransplant. Even those already carrying a donor card should ensure their wishes are registered as a card can be lost or damaged and a person may not be carrying it when they are taken to hospital.

-- It is also important for people to discuss their wishes with their family so they know what their loved one wanted should the time ever come.

-- Recent research by UK Transplant highlighted that the biggest block to increasing the number of life-saving organ transplants was the fact that 40% of relatives refused permission for their loved ones organs to be donated. One of the main reasons was that they did not know if donation is what their relative wanted.

-- You are more likely to need a transplant than you ever are to become a donor.

UK Transplant

UK Transplant is a part of NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). NHSBT is a Special Health Authority within the NHS, responsible for managing the National Blood Service, Bio Products Laboratory, and UK Transplant. NHSBT is responsible for optimising the supply of blood, organs, plasma and tissues and raising the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of blood and transplant services.


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