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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introducing-opt-out-consent-for-organ-and-tissue-donation-in-england/quick-read-organ-and-tissue-donation-consultation
People who donate their organs and tissue after they die help save many lives in England each year. However, 3 people die a day because of a lack of suitable organs.
Although 8 out of 10 people say they would want to donate their organs and tissue after their death, most people never register to be organ donors.
Under current rules in England, a person who has died can only be an organ donor if they have agreed to it when they were alive. This is called giving consent.
The government wants to make it easier for people to give consent to be an organ donor. It would increase the number of organs donated and save more lives.
A change in the law would mean that people who do not want to donate their organs after their death would have to opt out. We want to know how to make it easy for people to do this.
This consultation is to ask you what you think about how the new ‘opt-out’ rules could work. We want you to answer 9 questions about what you think should happen.
2. Making it easy to register your decision
The government wants to look at different ways for people to register their decision under the new system. This could happen through government processes such as driving licence applications, and health settings such as dental surgeries and opticians.
We want to know if you think there should be more than one way of registering a decision about organ and tissue donation.
We also want to know whether the new rules will affect what you decide to do about organ donation.
3. Including additional information when a decision is registered
There are advantages and disadvantages to including additional information when a person registers their decision on organ donation. On the one hand, potential donors may feel reassured about including information, on the other hand, the process of registering the decision needs to be as simple and straightforward as possible.
We want to know what you think are the advantages and disadvantages of including more information about a person’s organ donation decision.
4. Telling people about the changes
When the new rules come into force we need to make sure that everyone understands how the system has changed.
We would like to know what you think are the best ways of telling people what the changes are, so they can decide what they want to do.
5. People from some religious or minority ethnic backgrounds
A person’s faith or background can play an important part in deciding whether to be an organ donor.
We want to know whether you think that an opt-out system of consent could have a negative impact on people from some religious or ethnic backgrounds, and what could be done to ease those concerns.
6. Family involvement at the time of donation
If someone is going to die and it is possible for them to donate their organs, medical staff always talk to their family or a long-standing friend to find out if they wanted to be a donor.
In many cases, families find it easier to support organ donation if they know that was what their loved one wanted.
We want to know whether you think someone’s family should be able to make the final decision on organ donation, if the person who has died had not opted out of organ donation.
7. People who would not be included in the new ‘opt-out’ system
The government thinks there are some people who should not be included in the new rules. This is either because they are too young, they’re not able to make a decision about organ donation, or they don’t usually live in England. It means they would still need to ‘opt-in’ to be an organ donor when they were alive.
We want to know whether you think there are any other groups that should not be included in the new rules.
8. Your views and evidence
In our consultation, we ask for your views and any evidence you might have about:
- costs to the health system and society for people who have had transplants
- quality of life for people who have had transplants, and quality of life for their friends and family
- costs to the health system and society for people who need a transplant but have not yet had one
- quality of life for people who need a transplant but have not had one, and quality of life for their friends and family