Government announces consultation on organ donation opt-out system

4 October 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

Today the Prime Minister has announced her intention to launch a public consultation on a new opt-out system for organ donation in England. The consultation will be launched by the end of the year.

Human organ freezer box

The soft opt-out system means people will have to opt-out of the register if they do not want their organs used for transplants after their death.

Desperate shortage of heart donors

There is currently a desperate shortage of heart donors and moving to the soft opt-out system will help save more lives. 

Under the current system, anyone wishing to donate their organs has to opt in via the registration and organ donor card scheme run by NHS Blood and Transplant. A family member can also agree to the donation of organs if the person had not made their wishes known.

Increasing rates of organ donation

The consultation will outline ways to increase rates of organ donation and propose a new approach where every person would be deemed to have given consent to unless they choose to opt out. It will run for 12 weeks.

Can't come soon enough for patients

Our Chief executive, Simon Gillespie, said:

“Across the UK there is a desperate shortage of organ donors, meaning people needlessly die as they wait for organs to become available.

“Introducing a soft-opt out system in England will mean that more people will get the life saving transplant they desperately need.

“The Government’s commitment to a soft-opt out system is a commitment to ending the agonising pain felt by families who risk losing a loved one while they wait for a donor.

“This change can’t come soon enough for patients.”