Prime minister backs presumed consent switch for organ donation

Gordon Brown has backed plans to boost organ transplant rates by switching to a system of presumed consent.

The prime minister wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that an ‘opt-out system... [has] the potential to close the aching gap between the potential benefits of transplant surgery and the limits imposed by our current system of consent’.

The proposals were backed by Sir Liam Donaldson, England’s chief medical officer, who said that they would make it easier for clinicians to approach grieving relatives.

But Joyce Robins, of the watchdog Patient Concern, argued that presumed consent was ‘no consent at all’. ‘They are relying on inertia and ignorance to get the results that they want,’ she said.

At present 90 per cent of UK residents back organ donation, but only a quarter are registered as donors. In Spain, where consent is presumed, the donor rate is nearly three times as high.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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