Soft opt-out organ donation
The BMA is calling for:
Increased public campaigning to promote organ donation
A ‘soft’ opt-out system for organ donation.
BMA has long advocated a ‘soft’ opt-out system with safeguards for organ donation and continues to believe this is the best option for the UK to reduce the shortage of organs.
Currently the UK has an opt-in organ donation system where a person has to register their consent to donate their organs in the event of their death. This is set to change in Wales from 2015.
Under an opt-out system there would be a presumption in favour of consent for organ donation unless a person had registered an objection in advance.
If an objection had not been registered, family members would still be given the opportunity to confirm whether the individual had any unregistered objection, as an extra safeguard, before any procedures went ahead.
How would the system work?
Before changing to a new system there would be an extensive, high profile awareness campaign to inform the public about the changes and to encourage them to consider their own wishes about donation after their death.
A database would be established with a mechanism for people to easily and quickly opt-out if that is their wish.
Once implemented, when someone over the age of 16 dies and donation is a possibility, the opt-out register must, by law, be checked and if the individual has opted out donation could not proceed.
As an extra safeguard, if the individual had not opted out, family members would be asked if they were aware of any unregistered objection.
If the relatives were not aware of any objection, they would be informed that donation would proceed.
There would be scope not to proceed if it was evident that to do so would cause severe distress to those close to the patient.