University of Birmingham becomes nation's first Donor Campus

Birmingham has been awarded with Transplant Sport’s first ever Donor City Award, in association with the Daily Mirror.

The idea was proposed by Birmingham City Council  and recognises the City’s commitment to encourage local residents to sign up to the Organ Donor Register.

Birmingham currently has the second lowest number of organ donors, second only to London. Birmingham City Council is committed to improving this ranking, after receiving the Donor City Award from Daily Mirror Editor Alison Phillips and Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Jackie Doyle-Price during the closing ceremony of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2018 on Sunday, August 5.

The award signifies a commitment that Birmingham will have two years to complete, with the help of other local organisations.

The University of Birmingham will support the bid to improve organ donation in the region by becoming the nation’s first Donor Campus, having hosted the 41st Westfield Health British Transplant Games at its sports facilities earlier this month. The University will promote the NHS Organ Donor Register and issues around organ transplantation to staff, students and alumni for the next two years.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Birmingham said: “As a University that pioneered ground-breaking transplantation research, I am delighted that we have been able to support this initiative and become the UK’s first Donor Campus, which can only enhance our contribution to this important area.

“As one of the region’s biggest employers and most influential higher education institutions, we take the health and wellbeing of our staff and students seriously, as well as the local community.”

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), who will be designated the Donor Chamber, following their commitment to the Award, are also supporting the drive for more donors.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive at the GBCC said: “The Chambers are delighted to support this vital work to ensure that Birmingham climbs the ranking but, more importantly, increases the number of organ donations in the region.

“We are the leading organ transplant city in Europe so it’s important that we improve the donation levels.”

Leader of the Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ian Ward, who came up with the idea, said: “It seems incongruous that in a city which performs more hard organ transplants than anywhere in Europe, we have an organ donation rate that is amongst the lowest.

“We are faced with a clear challenge to change attitudes, particularly amongst our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, where organ donor rates are very low, meaning their family members could spend the longest time on the waiting list for an organ that could save their life.”

Chairman of the 2018 Games, and Trustee of Transplant Sport, Professor James Neuberger, was a keen supporter of the idea, working with the Council and stakeholders to record their promises and how they intend to keep them, tackling issues over the next two years.

He said: “Staging the Games already demonstrates a commitment to the cause of organ donation. But to continue building on the last two years of planning, gives the investment made by the City and the University of Birmingham an even greater impact.”

The city has appointed Councillor and Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Paulette Hamilton, to steer the Policy Group in Birmingham. The Group, independently formed, will also work closely with growing Donor City supporters, NHS Blood and Transplant, the University of Birmingham, the Donor Family Network, East End Foods and the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

Sally Johnson, Interim CEO of NHS Blood and Transplant added: “This award serves as a lasting legacy from the British Transplant Games and Birmingham’s commitment as a city to improve organ donation rates to help save the lives of those desperately in need of a transplant. We hope the people of Birmingham are moved and inspired by the games being held in their city and make the time to talk to their family and friends about organ donation today.”

Ends

For further information please contact:

1. Emma McKinney, Communications Manager (Health Sciences), University of Birmingham,  or tel: +44 (0) 121 414 6681, or contact the press office out of hours on +44 (0) 7789 921 165.
2. Ross Copping or Hollie Jones at Liquid or +44 (0) 121 285 3762 / +44 (0) 121 285 3764

Notes to editors:

  • Visit the Westfield Health British Transplant Games website for more information. Or sign up now to the Organ Donor Register.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The Westfield Health British Transplant Games aims to demonstrate the benefits of transplantation, encouraging transplant patients to regain fitness, whilst increasing public awareness of the need for more people to sign the NHS Organ Donation Register, Anthony Nolan Register and discuss their wishes with their families. Over 7,000 people in the UK are estimated to be waiting for an organ transplant, with three people dying each day whilst waiting to find a match. This year’s Westfield Health British Transplant Games were held in Birmingham from 2nd August – 5th August 2018. The Westfield Health British Transplant Games Birmingham 2018 Local Organising Committee is Chaired by Transplant Sport Trustee, Professor James Neuberger. The Games, the flagship event of Transplant Sport, have been staged annually since 1978 in a number of host cities including Sheffield, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Cardiff, Birmingham, Exeter, Liverpool, Bolton, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester, Norwich, Loughborough, Bath and Coventry. The Westfield Health British Transplant Games are organised by Sheffield-based events company, MLS Contracts Ltd and supported by not for profit health insurance provider Westfield Health. In Birmingham, the Westfield Health British Transplant Games partnered with Birmingham City Council, University of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and Sport Birmingham. 
  • Transplant Sport is a charity established in 1978 to encourage organ donation, recognise the donors and donor family, support transplant recipients and their families, encourage everyone to participate in sport and help them lead a healthy and fulfilling life. 
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity is part of a group of four hospital charities, supporting patients, families and staff by providing ‘added extras’ which cannot be provided by the NHS. The Charity funds cutting edge technology such as ‘Heart in a Box’ which keeps a donated heart beating outside of the body, extending the amount of time that surgeons have to perform the transplant. This piece of technology will increase the number of heart transplants that are carried out at QEHB by up to 50%. The Charity also helps to fund some of the incredible research that takes place at the hospital, and there are members of staff working at the hospital who are employed thanks to donations to the Charity. QEHB Charity is proud to provide ‘home away from home’ accommodation for patients at the hospital, with the 18-bedroom Fisher House providing accommodation for military patients and their families since 2013.