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Two Thirds of People Support an Opt-Out Organ Donation System

According to the British Medical Association (BMA) poll, two thirds of people across the UK (65 per cent) support a ‘soft’ opt-out organ donation system.

The survey, which asked 2,011 people also found that while two out of three people (66 per cent) want to donate their organs at death but only a third (39 per cent) are signed up to the organ donation register.

Currently, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland have an opt-in organ donation system where a person has to register their consent to donate their organs in the event of their death.

Wales has already introduced an opt-out system in which patients are assumed to be willing to donate their organs unless they register their objection in advance. If an objection had not been recorded, family members would still be given the chance to check whether the individual had any unregistered objection, as an additional safeguard, before any procedures went ahead.

The chair of BMA ethics committee, Dr John Chisholm said the latest findings shows that a large number of people who wish to donate their organs are not signing up to the register. Nearly, 10,000 people in the UK are in need of an organ transplant, with 1,000 patients dying every year while still on the waiting list. Since soft opt-out system was adopted in Wales, 160 organs have been transplanted, about a quarter of which were down to the new system.

Though organ transplantation has seen remarkable medical achievements it has not yet got its full life saving and life-transforming potential. The BMA is calling for all UK governments to follow suit and adopt a soft opt-out system, he added.

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