New organ donation law could save 700 more lives every year

Modesto Morganelli
Agosto 7, 2018

An NHS sign is seen at St Thomas' Hospital in central London, Britain May 12, 2017.

If approved, the new system is expected to come into effect in England in spring 2020, following a one-year transition period to allow time for friends and family to discuss their organ donation preferences.

This was echoed by Jackie Doyle-Price, Secretary of State for Mental Health and Inequalities, who said: "We need to address myths and misconceptions around donation, and we will only do this by having informed debate and dialogue, which I hope will be fostered by these proposals".

There will be exceptions - children under 18, those with diminished mental capabilities, and foreigners who have been in the country less than 12 months - and relatives can still override the "presumed consent", if the "donor" has relatives in the first place to object.

Currently, Wales already operates such a system, Scotland is looking to introduce a similar scheme, and Northern Ireland is also considering it.

Around 6,000 people in Britain are on the transplant waiting list and more than 400 patients died while waiting for a transplant past year, the public health service said.

Research found that 82% of people in England support organ donation, but only 37% have indicated so on the register.

'But organ donation remains a gift.

Grieving families are given the choice if a patient's wish to donate is not known, "but less than half give consent for the organs to be donated" says The Metro.

'However, we know this new system alone is not a magic bullet.

Under the new law, those who do not wish to donate their organs will still be able to opt out via the register and by using an NHS app that launches at the end of the year. "Of course, the reason why the government have shifted from the opt-in to the opt-out position is to increase donations - which is a good thing, but done in a way which is at risk of being done by slight of hand". "Many more lives could be saved by telling their families they want to donate".

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said introducing an opt-out system in England would reflect the views of the general public better.

Northern Ireland will soon be the only part of the United Kingdom without an opt-out organ donation system, the Ulster Unionists have warned.

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