Opt-out organ donation system could be in place by 2020

The government is expected to put in a new system of consent for organ and tissue donation if the legislation is passed through parliament.

The new opt-out system will presume adults to be organ donors unless they have specifically recorded their decision not to be.

This will be in place by 2020 in England if Parliament approves the change.

The government said it would save up to 700 lives each year.

A similar opt-out system has been in place in Wales since 2015. Scotland plans to introduce a similar scheme and Northern Ireland has also expressed an interest.

The legislation was introduced last year, and will return to the House of Commons in the autumn to be voted on.

Anthony Clarkson, interim director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The decision on opt out legislation in England is a matter for Parliament and any changes will only take place when Parliament agrees to them. Under the proposed system, you would be a donor unless you make it clear that you don’t want to donate.

“There is an urgent shortage of donors and last year 411 people died on the transplant waiting list. We support all activity that increases the availability of donated organs for life saving transplants and we welcome the government’s commitment to organ donation. NHS Blood and Transplant will work with the government to ensure that any changes are implemented successfully.

“Whatever system is in place, it will always be important that people talk to their family about organ donation. This can make things easier for families at a very difficult time.”

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