Have Your Say - Should We Have An Opt-In or Opt-Out Donor System in England?

Recent developments in the House of Lords means that we are now in the final stages of welcoming an opt-out Donor system in England. The Legislation will be called Max and Keira's Law after the 11-year-old heart failure patient received 9-year-old Keira's heart as a result of a fatal car crash back in 2017. It is thought that this change in legislation could save approx 700 lives a year in England.

Research shows that over 80% of the adult population would be happy to donate. However, the reality is that only 37% are registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register. So is it just one of those things that people never seem to get 'round to? (Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below)

Fiona Loud, of Kidney Care UK, who attended the reading yesterday, said;

The new law has the potential to save many lives and is a positive step towards reducing the number of people who die every day waiting for a transplant.
Whilst for many it appears obvious that this legislation should pass through Parliament there are still voices of descent to be found, Professor Chris Rudge, a leading transplant surgeon, has said he would opt out on the grounds that the State should not presume to take a citizen's organs. In 2018 he said;
Organ donation should be a present‚ I am so horribly opposed to a change in the law.
So perhaps this choice is a little bit more complicated than it first seems. Do we trust the state to be able to make these very personal decisions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Back in 2015 Wales became the first country in the UK to implement the 'soft opt-out' system of consent to organ donation. Nearly 4 years on and organ donation in Wales is the highest in the UK. Wales now has the highest combined DBD and DCD consent rate in the UK at 80.5%, when compared to England (66.2%), Scotland (63.6%) and Northern Ireland (66.7). Welsh Government figures.

Statement on proposed opt-out organ donation legislation for England.

John Forsythe, Medical Director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, says:
It looks as if the new Opt Out legislation in England will become law in the next few days. We very much hope that once this new law comes into force in Spring 2020, we will see similar results to those we have witnessed in Wales, with more people and families agreeing to donation, enabling more lifesaving transplants to take place. We will work closely with the Government to ensure that the introduction of the new opt-out approach is implemented successfully. Between now and then we will carry out an information campaign to make sure everyone knows about the change in the law, as well as the choice and options available to them, and that effective measures are in place to enable those who do not wish to donate to record their decision and to ensure that this decision is respected. 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. Even after the new law, our Specialist Nurses will still speak with a potential donor's family. It remains vital that people continue to have conversations with their family, to remove any uncertainty and offer peace of mind for those who find themselves facing the tragic loss of a loved one.
Read more about the proposed new law regarding organ donation in England. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


Ann Jean Harrison

I am a full organ donor & have been for at least 40 years, If we are dead why shouldn’t some one benefit from our organs. If we are cremated they are lost if we are buried the same, SO do the right thing, help someone to a better longer healthier life, That way you have performed a selfless act for some one who is desperate for a life. Remember it costs you nothing x

Diane Morgan

I have carried a donor card in the past, however, I have been informed that people with Down’s syndrome are excluded from transplant lists. Therefore, until this changes I will be opting out.

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