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Educating the public to encourage organ donation?

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Publication date03/2011
Host publicationOrgan shortage: ethics law and pragmatism
EditorsA-M. Farrell, D.P.T. Price, M. Quigley
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (print)9780521198998
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The recent Organ Donation Taskforce Report published in the United Kingdom (UK) rejected an opt-out system but emphasised again the importance of educating the public, especially those groups with low rates of donation. The call for more education often carries the assumption that increased knowledge will result in a specific (desired) action: more sex education to reduce unwanted pregnancies among young girls or more education on organ transplantation to increase donation rates. As shown by public engagement in science, however, it is too simple to assume that increased information will result in particular attitudes or behaviour. This chapter examines public education in the field of organ transplantation and how it relates to other public engagement activities, to public attitudes and to the usual focus of public health education on prevention, as well as treatment. The underlying question is why the need to find resources to meet the demand for organ transplants is not questioned when other areas of health care, in a publicly funded system, are subject to various forms of rationing.