Presumed consent organ donations set to start in May

A new presumed consent system for organ donation in England is set to come into force on 20 May, the Department of Health (DoH) has announced.

Currently, people are required to opt in if they want to donate their organs after they die, but this will be replaced by a system where adults will be automatically registered as a donor unless they explicitly opt out.

Ministers believe this will lead to a rise in transplants, but critics say merely changing the law won’t solve the problem.

Final say

Around 5,200 people in England are currently waiting for a transplant.

While anyone who has not opted out will be deemed to have given consent, relatives of the deceased will still be asked for their opinion.

The new law says that children under 18, those who have lived in England for less than a year, and those who have “lacked capacity for a significant time”, would be excluded from the scheme.

‘State overreach’

The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly said: “We welcome attempts to boost the number of successful organ transplants, but presumed consent is not the way. Donating an organ should be a gift.

“Countries like Spain and Croatia, with some of the highest rates of organ donation in the world, owe their success to improved infrastructure and communication.

“The Government’s efforts would be better spent on public awareness and helping medical staff build positive relationships.”