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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.

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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’.