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York St John Student Creates Organ Donation App for Teenagers

Tom Hutchinson 090714

6:42pm 9th July 2014

A new phone app has been launched to promote and inform people about organ donation.

It is primarily aimed at 12-18 year olds and has been developed by 2013 Product Design and Business Management graduate Tom Hutchinson as part of the York St John University Graduate Internship Programme. 

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust launched the iPhone app, which is available on the App Store, last week. It features stories from an organ donation recipient and others, information on which organs can be donated and the views of major religions on organ donation. The app, which is the first of its kind within the NHS, aims to encourage people to sign up with the National Organ Donation Register.

The original concept was the idea of Dr Albert Day, chair of the Organ and Tissue Donation Committee at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Day said: “We want to encourage people to find out more about organ and tissue donation and discuss their wishes with their families. Donation is not for everyone and their choice must be respected, whether or not they wish to donate their organs and tissues.

“However, many people hold back from signing up to the National Organ Donor register because they do not know enough about it and we want to put that right. Given that there was no NHS app in existence on the subject, we thought this was a great opportunity to play our part.”

The hospital approached York St John University to see if it could provide an intern with the skills needed to develop the concept. Richard Noake, Head of Department Theology & Religious Studies, Mike O’Dea, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, and the Careers and Employability team were involved in recruiting Tom for the project.

Suzanne Dickinson, Careers Assistant at the University, said: “This was a unique opportunity for Tom. As a graduate intern he was able to use his coding skills alongside working with students from a number of Harrogate schools who entered a competition to come up with a design for the application.

“The experience and skills Tom has gained throughout the internship has been invaluable. Tom is now working hard to develop his Product Design business.”

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