Students to learn about blood and organ donation on school curriculum for first time

Students to learn about blood and organ donation on school curriculum for first time

Students in England are set to learn about blood and organ donation on the school curriculum for the first time.

The change for secondary schools across the country is hoped to encourage young people to become donors and to talk to others about donating.

As well as blood and organ donation, pupils are also set to learn about stem cell donation – which can be used to treat blood cancers and disorders – on the curriculum for the first time this academic year.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has worked with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan and teachers to develop free resources for schools to use for lessons.

Alex Cullen from NHSBT said the body – which is responsible for blood donation in England, organ donation in the UK and the British Bone Marrow Registry – is “delighted” at the change on the secondary school curriculum.

“We see considering the types of donation as a rite of passage to becoming an adult, these lessons will allow pupils to discuss donation and empower them to make their own informed decision,” he said.

The NHSBT head of marketing added: “If young people support donation after learning about it, we know they can be hugely influential and can help advocate for us and ultimately help us save more lives.”

Around 1.4m blood donations are needed in England every year to help hospital patients across the country.

Terence Lovell from Anthony Nolan said the new resources for schoools will “provide young people with an introduction to altruistic donation and enable them to start important conversations with their families and friends”.

He added: “Without incredible young donors, Anthony Nolan simply couldn’t keep saving lives.”

New rules came into effect earlier this year allowing more gay and bisexual men to donate blood, which meant donors are no longer asked if they are a man who has sex with another man.

And last year, the organ donation system in England changed to an opt-out system, with all adults automatically enrolled.

It has been estimated this move will lead to an additional 700 organ transplants each year by 2023 and reduce the number of patients waiting for the life-changing surgery, which is in the thousands across the UK.

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