Wolverhampton MP to lead review to try and boost BAME donors

A Black Country MP is to lead a new review aimed at boosting the numbers black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) donors.

Eleanor Smith
Eleanor Smith

Eleanor Smith, Labour MP for Wolverhampton South West, will aim to raise awareness of the issue in the hope of getting more people to register as blood, stem cell and organ donors.

Ms Smith, who is a nurse and was elected at the General Election in June, has been working with the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust to try and push the issue.

Patients from BAME communities are more likely to need an organ transplant than the rest of the population as they are more susceptible to illnesses which may result in organ failure and the need for a transplant.

But despite this, only 3.6 per cent of BAME people are registered donors.

According to statistics, someone who is of African or Caribbean heritage and in need of a lifesaving bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor has an 80 per cent chance of not finding their match because there are not enough people of African or Caribbean heritage on the register.

Ms Smith's role on the Labour review was announced by Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth and she said she was pleased to be taking a prominent position.

She said: "To improve the chances of individuals receiving transplants and to beat their life-threatening illness to enable them to live more years with loved ones, more individuals from BAME communities are needed to come forward and register as donors.

"I’m pleased to be able to take forward the work done by the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust and make sure that improving donation rates among BAME groups is central to Labour’s health policy.”

Mr Ashworth said: “Patients from BAME communities are more likely to need transplants and I’m really pleased to announce that Eleanor Smith will be leading a review for me as Shadow Health Secretary on improving the numbers of BAME individuals registered as blood, stem cell and organ donors.

"I am passionate about tackling and defeating health inequalities and the health priorities of BME communities are absolutely integral to that mission. This review will be an important step in helping us achieve that goal.”

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