On Tuesday 12th December, the Department of Health launched a consultation on the proposal for organ donation to be changed from an opt in system - where consent to organ donation has to be given during life or by family after death - to an opt out system to try and assist with ensuring as many people as need organs are able to receive transplants.
The introduction to the consultation makes it clear that around 80% of people support organ donation in principle, yet there is a shortage of donors and that therefore one way to address this is by moving to a system where you have to opt out of donation rather than opt in.
The full consultation can be found here:
The consultation is seeking views on a range of issues including the potential impact an opt out system my have on 'certain groups, for example, people who have protected characteristics in law such as disability, race, religion or belief.'
The consultation closes in March 2018.
The government considers that it is the right time to revisit the issue of consent and to change the legal default on consent for organ and tissue donation in England. Although 8 out of 10 people say they would want to donate their organs and tissue after their death, most never register to be organ donors. This change would mean the system better reflects the position of the majority of people who would be happy to donate their organs and tissue when they die. It will also respect the decisions of those who do not wish to be organ and tissue donors.