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New organ opt-out legislation passes second reading by MPs

The proposed opt-out organ donation scheme has today passed its second reading in the House of Commons.

Doctor leaders said news that the life-saving scheme had moved 'one step closer to becoming law' in England was 'excellent news'.

The new system, which automatically opts patients into the donation scheme, would require those not wishing to donate to actively remove themselves from the list.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced in October that England will move to an opt-out system, similar to those already adopted in Wales and Scotland.

The Department of Health and Social Care is currently carrying out a public consultation on the new system, closing 6 March.

BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'This excellent news, that opt-out organ donation moves one step closer to becoming law, will be reassuring to the roughly 5,500 people awaiting an organ in England and their families and friends.

‘Every day, three people in the UK die waiting for a donated organ. At the same time, organs that could have saved lives are buried or cremated, despite our polls which show that more than two-thirds of people have a clear wish to donate their organs when they die.'

He added that 'the sooner these changes become law, the sooner we can maximise the number of lives saved from donations from the majority who are happy for their organs to be used after their death, while ensuring those who object to donating their organs can opt out quickly and easily'.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Cobblers

    A rehash of Oct 2017. I said then the following:

    My wife and I are not fit for dog meat by virtue of our medical problems and treatments so, in a sense, we are standing outside this argument. The state getting involved rarely, if ever, results in an improvement in the situation. I have listed the contra arguments. A balance in needed.

    • Few question the value of transplant operations or the need for more donors. But a programme designed to recruit more donors is preferable to a change in the law. If it doesn’t work question why, don’t change the law.
    • The proposed change implies that our bodies belong to the State as soon as we are dead. The assumption is offensive.
    • Organ removal without the expressed wish of the deceased could be distressing for his or her family. Let’s not even mention religion, some of whom require the whole body to go into the grave, where possible.
    • The proposed change in the law is open to abuse, with the possibility of death being hastened to secure an organ needed by some other patient.
    • The safeguard - that is, the right to refuse permission for your organs to be removed - is inadequate. A terminally ill patient or his/her relatives would be made to feel selfish if permission was withheld.

    No answer came the reply.

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  • Cobblers

    The verdammte BMA and Nagpaul getting involved in Public Health Policy instead of looking after its members' interests.

    He says,'the sooner these changes become law, the sooner we can maximise the number of lives saved from donations from the majority who are happy for their organs to be used after their death, while ensuring those who object to donating their organs can opt out quickly and easily'.

    Err....if they are that happy they can opt in as now? Why make those who now have to opt out feel guilty?

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  • Cobblers makes many valid points, but the truth is that most people rarely consider the issue whilst they are alive. Strong proponents would carry the card, whilst strong opponents would give advance notice of refusal. But the majority are not much bothered either way. ("Sling me on a skip when I'm gone for all I care").The Organ Programme may appear overvalued......until it's either yourself or a loved one who needs a kidney. Presumed consent makes the choice for grieving relatives far easier, but if they did object I can hardly see any physician opposing their decision, the legal hassle would hardly be worth it.

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  • Morale flagging

    Remember the organ retention scandal of Alderhey ..
    What next presumed consent to retain organs
    for research ??

    You have to respect peoples religious views
    some religions will be against Organ donation

    It may be considered hypocritical
    happy to receive
    but not willing to leave

    How about you cannot receive
    unless you are willing to later donate (if possible)?

    Many have to pay for Private mri's to even avoid postmortems..

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  • Morale flagging

    BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'This excellent news, that opt-out organ donation moves one step closer to becoming law, will be reassuring to the roughly 5,500 people awaiting an organ in England and their families and friends.

    Would be nice if the BMA concentrate on the numerous big issues facing the profession,
    rather than going for public appeasing sound bites

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