Tameside Hospital’s commitment to the importance of organ donation has been underlined with the appointment of a new Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation.
Alison Toyne is responsible for working with the families of patients who may be suitable for organ donation, offering families this option and facilitating the donation of organs and tissue.
Alison is one of 30 nurses employed by NHS Blood and Transplant who are embedded in hospitals across the North West.
“People are talking about organ donation more and more,” said Alison, 42, “My aim is to ensure that every family is offered the option of organ or tissue donation if their loved one dies in circumstances in which they could donate their organs or tissues.
“When it comes to organ donation, people may think about the subject, but don’t think it’s actually going to happen to them. As Specialist Nurses we do a lot of educational work in colleges and universities to try and address that.”
Alison, who previously worked in A&E at Manchester Royal Infirmary, now works alongside staff on the units at both Tameside Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital, ensuring that not only are patients’ relatives kept informed, but that the medical staff and nursing staff are too.
“A lot of what I do is about empowering staff and giving them information about patients who may be able to donate. It’s about offering that choice to everyone who is suitable.”
Having already qualified as a nurse, Alison explained how she spent a further nine months undergoing rigorous specialist training to prepare her for the challenges of her present job.
“As a nurse, I was always interested in bereavement care but I also thought it was something which could be strengthened. As a result I began working with the relatives of patients who are at the end of their life.”
“Every case is different. These are life changing events, but I know that if it’s something a family wants then the gift of organ donation provides some comfort in a situation that cannot be changed. That bit of comfort for a patient’s family and friends is what drives me.”
There are about 8,000 people in the UK currently on the transplant waiting list, waiting for an organ, and three people die every day while waiting. With National Transplant Week set to take place in a few weeks, Alison encourages families to discuss the subject amongst themselves.
“So often, organ donation is one of those things you don’t get around to discussing. Over ninety five per cent of people in the UK support organ donation, but only 30 per cent of people are on the donation register. Please talk about it with your family.”
People can register on the NHS Organ Donor Register using one of the following methods:
Go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk
Call 0300 123 23 23
Text SAVE to 84118