Case Study: DHSC's 'opt-out' organ donation consultation campaign attracts 17,000 responses

PR WEEK | Jonathan Owen

Health comms specialists have been challenged to encourage people to open up about a subject many are unwilling to face - whether or not to donate their organs, or those of their loved ones, after their death.

Concern over the shortage of organs available for transplant has prompted the government to propose a radical new approach.

Under proposals announced last December, the law will be changed so that people will be presumed to have consented to their organs being used unless they have made it clear that they do not want this to happen.

The three-month consultation, which ended in March, was supported by a major campaign mounted by the comms team at the Department for Health and Social Care.

Its purpose was to communicate why a consultation into changing the organ-donation system in England to 'opt-out' was being held and encourage people to provide their views.

The key messages included there being a "fatal reluctance" to talk about organ donation with relatives, and that, while 80 per cent of people say they would be willing to donate their organs, only 36 per cent actually register to become a donor. Continue reading