Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Organ Donation Week – ‘Words Save Lives’

Issue date: 
03 September 2018

Organ Donation Week took place between Monday 3 September to Sunday 9 September.

The national NHS campaign asked people to talk to their families about organ donation to increase the number of people whose lives can be saved or transformed by an organ transplant.

Families will always be approached about donation if a loved one can donate their organs. Knowing what their loved one wanted helps families support their decision at a difficult time.

The HTA’s role is to make sure that the quality and safety of all organs is maintained, that they are used safely and ethically, and with proper consent. We license and inspect hospitals that undertake organ transplants across the UK. In particular, we make sure that the donor and recipient, and their family are treated with dignity, respect and sensitivity.

Research undertaken by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHS BT) has shown that 80% of the UK population believe in organ donation and that where someone is on the Organ Donor Register and their loved ones are aware of this, 92% of families support their donation decision. Where a family does not know the wishes of their loved one, the number who agree to donation drops down to just under 50%.

Nicolette Harrison, HTA’s Director of Regulatory Delivery said: “Such an important decision with such a significant impact should be discussed with those that play such a paramount role. More conversations about organ donation increase the chances of honouring wishes and ultimately saving lives.”

The HTA supported Organ Donation Week by encouraging people to have these conversations with their loved ones.

Anthony Clarkson, Interim Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant said:

“We are very grateful to the Human Tissue Authority for its support during Organ Donation Week. Words save lives. Please tell your family you want to save lives through organ donation, because it could be the difference between life and death for someone else.”

For more information on the NHS Organ Donor Register and upcoming Organ Donation Week events in your area, please visit:


  1. NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. They provide the blood donation service for England and the organ donation service for the UK. They also provide donated tissues, stem cells and cord blood. They are an essential part of the NHS, saving and improving lives through public donation.
  1. The HTA is a statutory regulator that ensures that appropriate and valid consent needs to be in place when organs and tissue are donated from deceased and living people for transplantation. This means that when donation goes ahead, it is done properly.
  1. Read the HTA’s leaflet on consent and organ donation in England and Northern Ireland and the HTA’s leaflet on consent and organ donation in Wales.
News type: 
Last updated on: 11 Sep 2018