Opt-out organ donation?

A new opt-out system could be in place in England by 2020

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The opt-out system

The opt-out organ donation system is not in place for England. A Government consultation about the proposed system has now closed and the House of Commons is at the early stages of considering a Bill put forward by a Member of Parliament.

Under the proposed new system, you would be a donor unless you actively register your decision to ‘opt out’. This is the ‘deemed consent’ system currently in use in Wales.

We want to remind everyone that it will take time for any new system to become law. Please don't wait to commit to saving lives; you can join the NHS Organ Donor Register now.

The current system in England

Under the current system, people who want to donate their organs ‘opt in’ or agree to donate after their death by signing up as a donor on the NHS Organ Donor Register and telling their family their decision. If the person had not recorded a decision to donate then our specially trained nurses sensitively provide information to their family to help them to reach a decision about whether organ donation should go ahead.

Families declining to donate organs have led to at least 360 missed potential transplants during the 12-week opt-out consultation alone

We urgently need more people to donate: sadly around three people die every day in the UK in need of an organ while more than 1,000 families say no to organ donation every year.

Families who agree to donation say it helps with their grief and that they feel enormous sense of pride at knowing their relative gave others the chance of a new beginning.

Why change the current organ donation system?

The aim of considering a new system is to establish what more could be done in England to ensure that the overwhelming public support for organ donation is supported both within the legal system and in the NHS and that a person’s decision to donate is supported whenever possible.

We welcome the Government’s commitment to the lifesaving power of organ donation. We support any initiative which leads to more organ donors and more lives being saved.

Organ and tissue donation saves or drastically improves the lives of thousands of people every year and there is very strong support for organ donation within the English population. Over 80% of people say that they would be willing to donate their organs after their death but only 36% have recorded this decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

However, at any one time there are around 6,400 people on the transplant waiting list and on average three people die each day in the UK in need of an organ transplant.

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