NI health minister discusses opt-out organ donation

A controversial proposal to introduce a ‘presumed consent’ system for organ donation in Northern Ireland was discussed in a meeting in Stormont on Monday.

Under current legislation in the province people choose to opt-in and donate their organs, but Health Minister Edwin Poots has announced plans to consider an ‘opt-out’ system.

This comes as a donor expert has warned that the Welsh Government is misleading the assembly on their Bill for presumed consent.


The meeting in Northern Ireland was attended by Mr Poots, along with an MLA who is bringing forward a Private Member’s Bill for an opt-out system.

Mr Poots said there were a number of issues still to be addressed before presumed consent was introduced.

The meeting was organised by the British Medical Association, which came under fire last year for proposing that brain dead patients should be kept alive so their organs can be harvested for transplant.


The Welsh Assembly health committee are currently looking at a Bill for presumed consent, but concerns have been raised about information they are receiving from the Government.

John Fabre, professor of clinical sciences at King’s College London, said the proposals are based on misinterpreted information from Spain.

He has written to the assembly health committee to say that Spain’s increase in organ donation is not down to its legislation to bring in presumed organ donation consent.

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