Organ donation could become 'opt-out'

Katy Taylor-Hamilton

Jeremy Corbyn tells MPs to back opt-out organ donation bill

A government-supported private member's bill will introduce an opt-out law for organ transplants, replacing the current rules which mean people must opt-in if they want their organs used for transplants when they die.

However, the so-called "deemed consent" bill, brought forward by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson, would reverse the existing system so that all patients are assumed to be willing organ donors unless they have stated otherwise.

Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price also confirmed that the Government would name the changes "Max's Law" after Max Johnson, a 10-year-old boy who was saved by a heart transplant.

Since the new system was introduced, only 6% of the Welsh population have opted out, The Sun reports.

"Our best estimates are that this change will secure an additional 100 donors a year, which could lead to the saving of 200 extra lives", she said.

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More than 23 million people are on the organ donor register in the United Kingdom and donation rates hit a record high a year ago. However, early evidence suggests the reform "has had no effect on the number of organs available", John Humphrys wrote for YouGov a year ago.

Speaking in support of the Bill, Mr Heaton-Jones said: "This could be an inspiration to ensure that they too sign up for organ donation and will give them strength if they have to face similar circumstances".

Labour and Conservative MPs put aside party differences to sort out the Bill. There are now 115,016 people on that national organ transplant waiting list.

Tory MP Peter Heaton-Jones, who represents Keira's family, said the case demonstrated how "more organs means more saved lives".

The proposed opt-out organ donation scheme has today passed its second reading in the House of Commons.

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