Medicine

New opt-out organ donation scheme could save 700 lives a year

New opt-out organ donation scheme could save 700 lives a year

The new plan shifts the balance of presumption in favour of organ donation, with an opt out for those who do not wish to take part, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

Kirit Mistry, co-chair of the National BAME Transplant Alliance and chair of South Asian Health Action Charity, said: "If people don't discuss their wishes with their loved ones and positively engaging with the new system of consenting for organ donation, our own people will be consigned to years of unnecessary treatment, such as dialysis".

The move comes after 411 people in the United Kingdom died while waiting for a transplant in 2017.

According to research, 82% of people in England support organ donation but only 37% have signed up to the register.

The announcement comes after the Government launched a campaign, led by NHS Blood and Transplant with support from the National BAME Transplant Alliance, to address the cultural and religious barriers to organ donation in certain communities.

However many over 50s don't join the NHS Organ Donor Register or tell their families they want to donate because they don't think their organs could help other people. There will also be strict safeguards in place and specialist nurses will always discuss donation with families so an individual's wishes are respected.

The new law on organ donation will be called "Max's law" after Max Johnson, 10, of Winsford, Cheshire, who was saved by a heart transplant in August past year.

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Doyle-Price added: "We know this new system alone is not a magic bullet". We believe the soft opt-out is the right thing to do, but it is not the only thing to do.

The legislation was subsequently introduced previous year, and will return to the House of Commons in the autumn to be voted on.

Grieving families are given the choice if a patient's wish to donate is not known - but less than half give consent for the organs to be donated.

Those who do not wish to donate can record this on the NHS register either online, by phone or on an app to be released by the end of the year.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: 'There is a desperate shortage of organ donors in the UK.

"People in older age groups can still save and transform lives through organ and tissue donation".