The launch of the government’s consultation on introducing an opt-out system for organ donation is a welcome next step following Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement of the intention to change organ donation laws in England.
For those patients in the East Midlands anxiously awaiting news of an organ donation, among the 6,500 on waiting lists throughout the country, the progress made toward presumed consent will provide some hope of making it easier for those wishing to donate to do so.
As well as providing an opportunity for groups to have their voices heard and to ensure the safeguarding and protection of the interests of the various parties involved, the consultation will hopefully increase public awareness of the process and lead to more discussion of organ donation within families and between friends, so, over time, donation becomes more normalised.
The government must now ensure resources are available to facilitate the expected increase in donations resulting from the proposed changes.
More than 50,000 people are thought to be alive today due to organ donation and transplantation. Ultimately, this is about saving lives and any move toward making it easier to do so is welcome.
Dr John Chisholm
British Medical Association medical ethics committee chairman