The Board is urging black and minority ethnic (BME) people to join the rising numbers of people saving lives in their community by registering as organ donors.
More people from BME backgrounds are signing up to donate their organs after they die than ever before. However, there is still an urgent shortage of donors to help black patients requiring lifesaving organ transplants.
Many BME patients are able to receive a transplant from a white donor, but for many the best match will come from a donor from the same ethnic background. Unfortunately, donation rates from many BME communities are significantly lower than for white people.
More than a third of people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant are from BME communities. On average, they wait a year longer than their white counterparts for a transplant.
In the UK, the BME community are three times more likely to need an organ transplant and three times less likely to be organ donors.
Throughout Black History Month the Board will be calling on people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and let their families and loved ones know about their decision.
Marc Clancy, consultant transplant surgeon, said: “Donors save and improve lives. We are incredibly grateful to every person who joins the NHS Organ Donor Register, and to those inspirational families who say yes to organ donation after a loved one has died.
“Unfortunately though, the number of BME people donating their organs after they have died, and those donating a kidney during their lifetime, both remain low.
“More BME people are saving lives in these ways, but there is still an urgent need for people in the black community to help others who depend on a match with a donor from a similar ethnic background.
“Make Black History Month the time you take action to save lives in your community. Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register, and talk to your family and friends about your decision.”
For further information or to join the Organ Donor Register, please visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk