Presumed consent for organ donation, UK

Given the media coverage of the forthcoming report from the Organ Donation Taskforce on presumed consent, journalists covering this issue over the weekend may find the BMA’s briefing paper on presumed consent useful.

A general quote on this issue follows:

Dr Tony Calland, Chairman of the BMA’s Medical Ethics Committee (MEC) said:

“Every year people die because a donor cannot be found to allow their transplant to go ahead. Evidence from other countries has shown that a system of presumed consent can address the shortage of donor organs and can save lives. The BMA supports a “soft” system of presumed consent, where individuals who do not want to donate their organs have a formal mechanism for registering that objection and where families are consulted to identify any unregistered objection. We believe this is more likely than the current system to ensure that the individual’s wishes are respected.

“Of course a system of presumed consent is not in itself a magical cure and the BMA has already stated that it strongly supports the raft of measures already proposed by the Task Force. We very much hope that these proposals will greatly enhance donation rates and the BMA will do whatever it can to help promote that goal. We still believe, however, that in the longer-term, the UK will need to consider legislative change. Public support for such a change is already growing but we need to continue to raise awareness and encourage public debate.

“We look forward to reading the full report and are committed to working with the Taskforce to achieve our common goal ? to improve organ donation in the UK.”

Source: British Medical Association, UK

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