After years of tireless lobbying and campaigning by the BMA, Theresa May’s announcement at the Conservative Party conference to introduce an opt-out system for organ donation in England is welcome news.
This will give hope to patients who anxiously await news of whether they can have a transplant, and to their families. It should go some way to addressing the severe shortages of organs for donation across the North East and throughout England.
A recent BMA survey revealed that despite two-thirds of people saying they wanted to donate some or all of their organs, only a third were registered to donate. A change in the law to a soft opt-out system would facilitate a greater number of organ donations and make it easier for those wishing to donate to do so.
For the change in the law to reach its life-saving potential, it is vital that the public is fully aware of the new process and that the potential increase in transplants can be facilitated and matched with adequate resources.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel and this could put an end to the numbers of people who die needlessly each year, so let’s get it right.
Dr John Chisholm CBE,
BMA Medical Ethics Committee Chairman