DoH taskforce to explore 'opt out' consent for organ donation

Health secretary Alan Johnson has today asked the organ donation taskforce to explore whether all adults should be automatically included on the organ donor register.

The proposal, known as presumed consent, would view everybody as a potential donor unless they had registered an objection or 'opted out' before death.

The taskforce will examine the complex moral and medical issues around presumed consent, including giving the family of the deceased a final say on the donation of any organs.

Mr Johnson said: ‘We know that around 8,000 people in the UK need an organ transplant but only 3,000 transplants are carried out each year. With more than 400 people dying every year waiting for a new kidney, heart, lung of liver we need to do everything possible to increase organ donation.

‘I want to see organ donation and transplant rates start to rise and match the rates seen in some other European countries enabling us to save many more lives.

‘The chief medical officer's annual report helped put the idea of presumed consent into the public arena to be debated. This is a sensitive issue, but it is vital that all possible options for increasing the number of organs available for transplant are explored.’

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