Organ donation law is changing

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Three people die every day in need of an organ transplant. To enable more people to pass on more organs to save more lives, the law around organ donation is changing.

In order to try and further increase the number of people who donate their organs after their death, from spring 2020, all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they had recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.

Similar changes were introduced in Wales in 2015 and the latest evidence is that the change has led to a significant increase in the number of organ donors.

Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Clinical Lead for Organ Donation, Dr Ian Thomas, said: “Organ and tissue donation is remarkable in many ways. It is perhaps the ultimate gift that one human being can provide to another. The transforming effect it can have on the lives of the recipient and their families is miraculous.”

Despite there being a 92% increase in organ donation since 2008, over 300 people died in 2018 whilst waiting for an organ transplant.
Approximately 5,000 people die per year in circumstances where organ donation may be a possibility and in 2018/19 1,582 people became successful organ donors.

Dr Thomas added: “Without donors, no transplantation programme can work and ultimately this change is about being able to offer the life changing effect of organ transplantation to those patients who remain on the transplant waiting list with the ultimate aim of reducing deaths on this list to zero.”

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