As the Westfield Health British Transplant Games draws to a close, host city Newport has been announced as a Donor City – just the second city in the UK to be awarded the honour.
The award signifies a commitment that a collective of organisations in Newport will have two years to complete. It is just the second city to be given the accolade after Birmingham who were hosts of the Games in 2018.
The city - determined to build on the four-day festival of Transplant Sport to secure a legacy – is now aiming to raise the number of transplant recipients engaging in physical activity and sport.
The city is also keen to increase Black, Asian, Ethnic Minority engagement (BAME) in the transplant process. Currently, consent rates among BAME communities are at around half the average rate in the UK.
Chair of the 2019 Games Ann Lloyd, also Chair of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, explained:
“The Games have been a huge success but it is important that we continue the work. The city has set itself some big ambitions and working together we can make a significant difference.”
Leader of Newport City Council, Councillor Debbie Wilcox said:
“We have been proud hosts of the Games this week and we are dedicated to building on the last two years of planning and preparation. To be named as the UK’s only second Donor City recognises our commitment to make sure the work around organ donation and our transplant communities continues.”
Latest figures reveal that the consent rate for organ donation in Wales has increased by seven per cent from last year. Wales has the highest consent rate of all the UK nations, now 77 per cent, up from 58 per cent in 2015, when the new a soft opt-out system of consent to organ donation was introduced.
Nearly 57,000 Newport residents have registered an opt in decision on the organ donation register. While the latest statistics show understanding and support for organ donation is growing, we are still working hard to increase awareness.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, said:
“We are delighted that Newport has been named as the second Donor City in the United Kingdom, having shown huge enthusiasm delivering a successful 2019 Westfield Health British Transplant Games.
“Every donation is a potentially life-saving gift and I am so pleased to see the consent rate continues to rise in Wales. It shows the introduction of the pioneering opt-out system is having a real effect and it is great to see England and Scotland now following our lead.”
Meanwhile, Dr Paul Harden, Chair of Transplant Sport, believes the growth of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games augurs well for the future of donation:
“We take the Games to a different city each year and they just get better and better. Last year, Birmingham became a Donor City and the city took on the mission to strive towards raising organ donation and transplant rates in the BAME community.
“Now Newport is also a Donor City and this means that a wonderful legacy of organ donation and support of our transplant communities continues, long after our closing celebrations have finished.”
Hosting the Games on home turf has already seen the numbers of transplant recipients representing Wales from just a handful last year to 50.
And awareness across Wales has grown in the build up to the Games thanks to an Organ Donation Wales tour that has visited each corner of Wales. An exhibition which looks at transplants and organ donation at Friars Walk in Newport has also been attracting and building understanding among its many visitors.
The aim of the Games – organised on behalf of charity, Transplant Sport, is to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation. Wales was the first to introduce a soft opt-out system of the organ donor register. However, the decision on organ donation is still made by loved ones. That’s why organisers are keen to spread the word that you need to make your wishes – whatever they may be - known to your family.
As of 31stDecember 2018, there were 232 patients in Wales waiting for a transplant. In the first three quarters of 2018/19, 19 patients died while on the active waiting list.
The event is supported by Westfield Health, Welsh Government, Newport City Council, Newport Live, the local health boards across Wales, NHS Blood and Transplant, Kidney Care UK, Anthony Nolan Register, Donor Family Network, Global Kidney Foundation and Believe Organ Donor Support. Further sponsors include Friars Walk, Icon Creative Design, Rodney Parade, Celtic Manor and Newport NOW BID.