UK — Getting Closer to an Opt-Out System for Organ Donation

As mentioned in EKHA Newsletter’s previous edition, Theresa May initiated plans to implement an opt-out system for organ donation last October and is undergoing a consultation on the issue.

In parallel, MP Geoffrey Robinson’s private members’ bill, recently passed its second reading in Parliament and will now be examined at the committee level.

If enacted, England would follow the lead of Wales, which introduced an opt-out system in December 2015, Belgium, France, Spain and now the Netherlands (see previous article on this topic).It was reported that Scotland is also considering a change.

Mr Robinson told MPs that while levels of organ donation were “considerably higher than a decade ago”, the UK had “some of the lowest rates of consent in Western Europe and a “certain inertia” had set in”. According to NHS figures, about 500 people are dying every year due to a lack of suitable donors. It’s important to note that Mr Robinson expressed his hope that an opt-out system would foster open discussion about this issue amongst families. Indeed, in the end, it’s the next-of kin that make the final decision and, faced with the loss of their beloved one, they often step back, sometimes even if the deceased person appears to be a registered donor…

Read more here about plans for an opt-out system for organ donation in the UK.