Former transplant chief speaks out against Govt’s organ plans

Organ donations should be a gift, rather than an automatic process which gives the state ownership of body parts, a former transplant chief has said.

Professor Chris Rudge, formerly the National Clinical Director for Transplantation, also said changing the system “may take away people’s faith and trust in organ donation”.

He was hitting out at Theresa May’s announcement that the Government wants to put everyone on the organ donation list automatically, unless they specifically opt out.

‘Horribly opposed’

In the current system, organ donors choose to opt in, with everyone else considered not to have given consent. Doctors must ask permission from the next of kin if they wish to use an organ for transplant.

Prof Rudge objects to the plans to implement ‘presumed consent’, saying: “I think I would opt out because organ donation should be a present and not for the state to assume that they can take my organs without asking me.

“No one knows better than me the problems of thousands of people waiting for a transplant. Part of me really wants to help them but part of me really objects to the opt-out system.

“I am so horribly opposed to a change in the law and I wouldn’t like to be put in that position.”


His views were echoed by Brian Burnell, who has been registered as an organ donor for over 20 years, but says he would opt out if presumed consent was introduced.

“The state is never going to own my body”, he said. “Donating organs is a gift, and an intensely personal one.”

Theresa May announced the Government’s plans at the Conservative Party conference.

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