Council staff will be able to take time off work for bone marrow, stem cell or organ donation without having to use annual leave thanks to a Notice of Motion brought forward by Conservative Councillor Joe Miller at the recent Full Council Meeting.
In moving his motion, Cllr Miller presented a number of statistics:
- 6000 people are currently on the UK Transplant waiting list
- 2000 people need a bone marrow or stem cell transplant every year
- 350 people died last year waiting for a transplant
- 400 patients every year cannot have lifesaving treatment because of lack of a suitable donor
- 777 people were removed from the list due to deteriorating health issues in 2018-19
- Every 14 minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer in the UK
Councillor Miller, who is also a bone marrow donor himself, said that his motion was about doing what we could at a local level to remove barriers to bone marrow donation.
“Many people on the national list of donors have to take annual leave to do so. This can’t be right or fair in our view. They are saving someone’s life” Cllr Miller said.
“We as a council can lead the way and do our bit and hopefully this will have an impact locally resulting in more donations being given and people registering on this list and more lives being saved” he said.
Councillor Miller also encouraged other councillors to become bone marrow donors.
“Let something truly positive come out of today’s meeting and sign up to become a bone marrow donor today” he added.
Anyone wishing to find out more about becoming a bone marrow donor can visit the British Bone Marrow Registry website : https://www.bbmr.co.uk/joining-the-register/
Conservative Health Overview and Scrutiny Spokesperson Alistair McNair backed Cllr Miller’s motion.
“Living through this pandemic brings home the reality that it’s not just other people who might die an untimely death” Cllr McNair said.
“This Notice of Motion in about changing mindsets.
“If we care about trying to increase donor lists, and their diversity, we need to make it as easy as possible to donate.
“In the past, many employees found it hard to get permission to work from home. Now it’s almost the norm. And it was easier than we thought.
“This Notice of Motion requires a small change of mindset, now that it is set against the challenge of this pandemic – allowing staff to donate without affecting their annual leave. A very small ask, don’t you think? A little bit of trust and support to help save lives.
“This pandemic has rightly highlighted the heroic work of many people – but isn’t it heroic to donate an organ, or even just blood?
“100,000 deaths from Covid rightly focuses the mind, but so should the 3000 needing donations. Don’t let’s forget them.
“We need donor heroes like we need Covid heroes. Donor patients don’t have a vaccine to release them – they need individual people, and companies, to step up. For people needing donors, their need won’t be gone by the summer” he added.
The Full text of the Notice of Motion agreed to by councillors is below.
NOTICE OF MOTION
BONE MARROW, STEM CELL AND ORGAN DONATION
- Requests officers to take the necessary steps to allow staff to take time off work for bone marrow, stem cell or organ donation without having to use annual leave;
- Commends the huge personal sacrifices that residents undergo to save the lives of others and sets out to assist in promoting that endeavour;
- Requests officers to put in place a communication campaign to all staff and residents of the city encouraging them to become blood donors and bone marrow/stem cell donors through the British Bone Marrow Registry (part of the NHS Blood & Transplant service) or the leading charities in the field - Anthony Nolan and DKMS Foundation; and
- To target this communication campaign particularly at staff and residents who are under 40, and those of all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, since these groups are most needed on the registries.