UK Government Opt-out Donation Plan ‘Will Not Increase Donors’

By Josh Jezard

UK Government Opt-out Donation Plan ‘Will Not Increase Donors’

• Theresa May announced plans to make it easier for doctors in England to take organs for transplants without explicit consent

• In Wales, consent for organ donation is already presumed

• People in England must still sign up to say they are happy for their organs to be used 

An opt-out organ donation register in England may not increase the number of organs because grieving relatives could be less sure what their loved ones had wanted, a study suggests.

Under the opt-out system, planned to come in from 2020, consent is presumed unless family members decide otherwise but research by Queen Mary University London surveyed attitudes in several nations with varying donation policies.

A similar opt out system has been in place in Wales since 2015 and the number of donors has not increased in the country.

Lead author Dr Magda Osman, from Queen Mary University of London, said: "To help increase actual rates of organ donation, we need more transplant co-ordinators working with families to help them understand the issues before being faced with a monumental and distressing decision… We also need to offer people a way to indicate explicitly what they wish to do. This should involve an expressed statement of intention if their wish is to donate, or an expressed statement of intention if there is an objection to donate. This reduces the ambiguity in trying to infer what someone wanted to do when it comes to donating their organs."

What are your thoughts on organ donation?

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