Media Release: NHS Lothian launch organ donation app

NHS Lothian has become the first health board in Scotland to create an iphone application (app).

The ‘Sign up to Save a Life’ app was designed as part of NHS Lothian’s organ donation campaign.

The app makes it easy for potential donors to join the national register while on the go, and to find out more about organ donation and transplantation in Lothian.

As of today the app will be available to download free of charge from iTunes App Store and is suitable for all ages.

The health board has already teamed up with staff, scores of big businesses and organisations, as well as patients to run the campaign, which encourages people living in Lothian to join the national organ and tissue register.

Anna Burnett, from Edinburgh, underwent a life saving liver transplant when she was just ten years old after being diagnosed with Crigler-Najjar Syndrome as a baby.

The 25 year-old said:” I think a lot of people have complete misconceptions about transplantation because they don’t know enough about it and don’t realise what an amazing difference it can make.”

The rare condition left Anna without a vital enzyme in her liver, causing jaundice.

It meant her body would not break down a waste substance known as bilirubin, which, if left to build up, can cause irreversible brain damage.

The condition meant that for years Anna spent hours under a special blue light which helped breakdown the bilirubin and processed her blood properly until she was fortunate to receive a transplant.

Anna said: “Even now, 15 years on, if I mention that I have had a transplant I still see the look of shock on peoples faces. It’s becoming more and more common nowadays and people need to realise that it can happen to anyone at anytime.

“That’s why I think the iPhone app is a fantastic idea as this tends to be an issue many people try to avoid or claim they are too busy to think about, but the app makes it so quick and easy to know the facts and take the decision to join.”

Despite her transplant at such a young age, Anna has gone on to become the most successful Scottish transplant athlete of all time and she holds the 400-metre world record for the European Transplant Games.

Anna now competes in mainstream athletics and last year she competed in the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Melbourne, Australia.

Not only an accomplished athlete, Anna also runs a successful dress making and alterations business in Edinburgh, after graduating from the Edinburgh College of Art in 2008.

Anna adds: “I’ve always been of the opinion that if you or someone in your family would be prepared to accept an organ – then you should be prepared to be a donor too.”

Lothian already has one of the highest numbers of people on the register in Scotland, but NHS Lothian wants to increase the number from 42 per cent to at least 50 per cent of the population.

A dedicated website, information pack and real-life short films have been created, allowing organisations to get involved.

The campaign launch followed the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first live donor kidney transplant at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in 1960.

People can also register by texting ‘fifty’ on their mobile phone to number 61611.

The app includes general information, quick facts, and a direct link to the national organ and tissue donors registers either via web browser or text.

For more information on organ donation and transplantation in Lothian visit



Notes to editors:

For more information on NHS Lothian’s campaign visit: www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/signuptosavealife

The direct link to the iTunes App store is:


‘Sign Up to save a Life’ has been nominated for Best Campaign and Best Online Communication at the 2010 Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) Scotland Awards.

For photographs of Anna Burnett, please contact NHS Lothian’s communications team.

Issued: 14.02.2011

Victoria Mundell

communications officer

NHS Lothian

0131 465 5646

MEDIA RELEASE posted by NHS Lothian. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on allmediascotland.com. For more information, email here.

Website: http://www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/signuptosavealife