Religious perspectives on organ donation
All the major religions of the UK support the principles of organ donation and transplantation. However, within each religion there are different schools of thought, which means that views may differ. All the major religions accept that organ donation is an individual choice.
NHSBT has worked closely with religious leaders of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism to research and produce a series of leaflets explaining organ donation and religious viewpoints and principles.
Leaflets on specific religions
Leaflets are available which focus on each of the six major religions in the UK.
You can download these leaflets from the links to the right of this page or order them free of charge from our campaign catalogue here.
Engagement with faith leaders and communities is a vital aspect of our strategy to raise awareness of organ donation and transplantation in the UK. We will continue to work with faith groups to increase awareness and build trust, whilst providing the information needed to dispel myths and encourage debate and discussion. As part of our continuing strategy, we are actively seeking to develop partnerships through which we aim to provide the necessary information, guidance and promotional materials wherever possible, to allow faith groups to actively promote awareness of organ donation through their networks and communities. To get in touch or for further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working with faith groups
Research shows that religion is often a barrier to people agreeing to organ donation because they feel their faith doesn't allow it, particularly amongst BAME communities.
Following on from the launch of the new religious perspectives leaflets last year which was supported by leaders of all the major faiths in the UK and set out their standpoint on organ donation, we are continuing to work closely with faith leaders to help them share messages with their congregations about the need to address the shortage of organ donors in their communities.
As part of this work, NHSBT held a Faith and Organ Donation Summit in May which brought together a number high profile faith leaders, community representatives and health professionals to discuss perceived barriers to organ donation and how to improve consent rates. Guests at the event included some of the most influential and respected faith leaders and representatives in the UK including the former Head Imam of the Central London Mosque Dr Mohammed El-Sharkawy, Chair of the Buddhist Society Dr Desmond Biddulph, and the Church of England's national advisor on ethics and health & social care policy Rev Dr Brendan McCarthy.
The 40 strong delegation at the summit considered new ways of encouraging people to embrace organ donation and increase rates of family agreement at the time of someone's death. They also want to encourage people of all faiths to discuss their wishes with their families should they ever be in a position to donate their organs to save the life of another.
These initiatives have provided a starting point for faith and BAME communities to inform the UK wide organ donation strategy to increase organ donation rates in all communities, and have been built into a Faith Engagement and Organ Donation Action Plan by Professor Gurch Randhawa, Professor of Diversity in Public Health & Director, Institute for Health Research, University of Bedfordshire which is now available here along with NHSBT's response.
Faith leaders shared their experiences of promoting organ donation within their own communities and looked at how they can form an action plan to help bring together all the ideas from the day and take it forward.
The summit was the finale to a series of educational events that took place in various worship centres across London in early 2013 with the aim of spreading the word on organ donation from people of faith and getting faith groups to rigorously debate the perceived barriers and how to overcome them. We continue to hold and support faith sessions across the UK in order to provide a platform for discussion around organ donation and religion and build on the success of the summit.