Department uses social-media conversation as part of consultation on potential move to opt-out model
The Department of Health and Social Care has revealed how a day of tweeting helped it get a handle on public attitudes to organ donation.
In December, the government launched a public consultation on the possible introduction of an opt-out system for consenting to organ donation. Recognising that “getting the whole of England to respond to a consultation is tough”, the health department decided to stage a Twitter debate on Thursday 22 February.
“[We were] keen to make sure we didn’t just talk about the organ-donation system as it is now. We wanted this discussion not to just be the team sharing information about opt-out – it needed to be bigger than that,” the department said. “We started by reaching out to different organisations and key influencers about getting involved in the debate.”
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Ahead of the debate, the DHSC digital team prepared blogs and graphics to help prompt conversation, and considered questions that might crop up during the day. A hashtag – #talkorgandonation – was also established, to help people join the conversation.
The hashtag was used in more than 100 tweets from 56 accounts, and up 1.4 million other accounts were reached as a result of the debate.
The department added: “The consultation ended on 6 March, and in total we had 17,150 responses. One day of tweets, 56 accounts and the prompt to #talkorgandonation helped government hear what 196 people had to say on organ donation. It isn’t every Thursday that that happens.”