Opt-out organ donation passed into law

From 2020, adults in England will be considered potential donors unless they choose to opt out or are excluded, after the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill received Royal Assent on 15 March.

The Organ Donation Act is known as Max and Keira’s law in honour of a boy who received a heart transplant and the girl who donated it.

Changes to the way consent is granted will take effect in 2020. Before this happens, the government will launch a public awareness campaign to make sure people understand the new system and the choices they have.

Those excluded from the plans include children under 18; people who lack the mental capacity to understand the changes for a significant period before their death; people who have not lived in England for at least 12 months before their death.

There will also be strict safeguards in place and specialist nurses will always discuss donation with families so an individual’s wishes are respected.

The government’s public awareness campaign will help raise awareness of the new system before it comes into force in spring 2020, and give people the time to have the conversations they need.

Those who do not wish to donate their organs will still be able to record their decision on the NHS Organ Donation Register. They will be able to do this through NHS Blood and Transplant’s website or helpline, or on the new NHS App.

The government will also consult on whether certain organs should be excluded from the opt-out system.

The Prime Minister thanked campaigners for their support in getting the law passed.

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