"I am delighted that England has moved to an opt-out system. It has the potential to save hundreds of lives.”
As of today, 20th May, organ donation in England has moved from an ‘opt in’ to an ‘opt out’ system. The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act received Royal Assent on 15th March 2019, and has come into force today.
Grahame Morris MP welcomed the introduction of the new system, saying “I am delighted that England has moved to an opt-out system. The number of people that die whilst awaiting a donation is tragic; this new system has the potential to save hundreds of lives.”
The changes mean that all adults in England will now be considered as potential organ donors when they die, unless they have opted out, or are in one of the excluded groups. Examples of people in an excluded group include:
- Those under the age of 18;
- People who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action;
- Visitors to England, and those not living here voluntarily;
- People who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death.
Bereaved families will still be approached about the donation of a loved one’s organs, and people’s faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected.
The new system is also known as ‘Max and Keira’s Law,’ in honour of a boy who received a heart transplant, and the girl who donated it.
According to NHS Blood and Transplant, the organisation which runs donations and transplants, 80% of people in England support organ donation in theory, but only 38% are registered donors. As of 20th May, 3,118 people are awaiting an organ donation. Three people die each day while on the waiting list.
Despite the changes, people are still being encouraged to register their intentions regarding organ donation with NHS Blood and Transplant. Families will always be consulted about organ donation, whether or not an individual has recorded a decision.