A funeral plan business is piloting a NHS partnership scheme to target large numbers of potential organ donors as they buy and plan pre-paid funerals.
Leeds-based Rest Assured Funeral Plans has begun asking customers to consider signing the Organ Donation Register on behalf of the service’s Blood and Transplant department this week.
Its staff will raise the question of becoming an organ donor in face-to-face appointments with its funeral plan customers for the next two months, as part of a NHS partnership scheme. If customers don’t join the Organ Donation Register then, they will be given further opportunity to sign up online at a later time. They will also receive organ donation information in their Rest Assured Funeral Plans welcome pack.
Betsy Bassis, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “When people are at the point of making arrangements for their funeral, it will often follow that they will also be making other significant decisions about their end of life affairs.
“We are pleased to be working with Rest Assured to be able to provide people with information about organ donation at this important point in their lives. We very much hope that schemes like this will help encourage the discussion of organ donation as a natural part of the end of life process.”
Both organisations will monitor the public’s response to the pilot scheme.
If successful, NHS Blood & Transplant hopes other funeral plan companies will follow suit, allowing it to reach tens of thousands of people as they make key end of life decisions.
Thomas Loughran, CEO of Rest Assured Funeral Plans, said: “Raising the subject of organ donation with our customers when they are purchasing a funeral plan is logical and progressive.”