The Government's Launched its Opt-Out Organ Donation Consultation Online


Campaigners say it would save lives and point out that most of the public want to be donors but never get round to signing up.

The Health Secretary urged the public to overcome a "fatal reluctance" to discuss the issue and back the idea of having to opt out if they do not want to donate organs.

The new process, announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in her conference speech in October, will require anyone objecting to donation to opt-out, raising ethical questions for some.

Currently, in England, people have to opt-in to donate their organs, including eyes, heart and kidneys.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt talking to staff during a visit at St George's Hospital in Tooting, west London. He also expressed a desire that people overcome their "fatal reluctance" to talk about organ donation and make sure their families know what their wishes are before they die.

Opponents, including Christian charities, say presumed consent is "unethical" and suggests that people's organs are the property of the state.

The Government's Launched its Opt-Out Organ Donation Consultation Online
The Government's Launched its Opt-Out Organ Donation Consultation Online

The three-month consultation will examine issues including how much say a family should have over a person's decision to donate their organs, how different groups will be affected by the new system and when exemptions to "opt-out" might be needed. We need more people to be involved in this conversation. It can be a hard subject to broach, but overcoming this fatal reluctance to talk openly about our wishes is key to saving many more lives in the future'.

Figures from NHS Blood and Transplant show that in the past year around 1,100 families in the United Kingdom decided not to allow organ donation because they were unsure, or did not know whether their relatives would have wanted to donate an organ or not. But their families can still intervene and stop their organs being used if they are strongly opposed to it.

The consultation is also created to work out which groups will be affected by potential changes, what opt-out exemptions will be required, and how much power a family should have over their deceased relative's organs. This is the case in Wales unless the family requests that organs are used.

The opt-out system was launched in Wales two years ago.

Apparently, while 80 per cent claim to be willing to donate their organs after they die only around 36 per cent are registered.

'We hope the consultation starts a national conversation about organ donation. That's why the organisation I work for, the British Medical Association (BMA), welcomes the government's announcement of a "soft" opt-out system, something we have spent 18 years campaigning for.

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