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DH launches consultation on opt-out organ donation

Patients are being called to share their views on a new organ donation opt-out system in England.

The Department of Health (DH) consultation, launched today, suggests the law should change so that people are considered willing to donate organs unless they have actively opted out.

It also asks how it could be made easier for people to register their wishes; how family members should be involved in decisions; and which safeguards and excemptions are required for certain groups of people.

This comes after Prime Minister Theresa May announced in October that England will move to an opt-out system.

The current system requires donors to actively have entered an NHS register. However, the DH said that despite ‘most’ people never registering to be donors, ‘eight in 10’ would want to donate organs and tissue.

Implementing the new system will allow doctors to use the organs of dead adults even if they found no written permission.

Scotland and Wales have already adopted this system, in June 2017 and December 2015 respectively.

In Wales, this ‘soft’ opt-out system that allows relatives to oppose to donation has ‘already saved lives’ according to the Welsh Government, which found that six out of 16 donors had become so via the new system.

This year, the UK Transplant Activity Report 2016/17 has shown that more than 50,000 survived thanks to organ transplants.

Patients in England have until 6 March 2018 to share their views.