DoH backs down on presumed consent for organ donation

The government looks unlikely to move to a system of presumed consent for the donation of organs, after a report concluded it would not improve donation rates.

Alan Johnson Credit:Haymarket Medical
Alan Johnson Credit:Haymarket Medical

The UK Organ Donation Taskforce concluded that assuming organs could be used unless people opted out was unlikely to increase the amount of organs available.

‘Such a system has the potential to undermine the concept of donation as a gift, [and] erode trust in NHS professionals,’ the report said.

Instead, health secretary Alan Johnson has announced a £4.5 million campaign to persuade 25 million people to sign up to the organ donation register by 2013. If that does not succeed, presumed consent will be reconsidered.

Last week, ahead of the report, the BMA repeated calls for a move to a system of presumed consent, which it says has proved effective in other countries.

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