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Monday 24th October 2016

Debate on organ donation

28th June 2011

Delegates at the British Medical Association conference have rejected a challenge to the idea of overhauling the organ donation system.

heart surgery

The BMA have had an ongoing campaign for the past 12 years to change the current system to one of presumed consent, where people who do not want to be donors have to specifically opt out of the process.

However some members had argued that supporting presumed consent could be damaging to "patient trust".

Members of the BMA rejected this idea and said presumed consent organ donation would help to prevent deaths.

Nowhere in the UK operates a system of presumed consent at the moment, although the Welsh government has said it is intending to adopt it.

UK donation rates fall far behind other countries and supporters of the system believe it would substantially increase donation rates.

Laura Turkenburg, a medical student from Durham, referred to data which showed three deaths occur every day because people are waiting for a transplant.

"We have a significant problem in this country. That means the system has to change."

Former Lib Dem MP Dr Evan Harris, who put forward the original proposal for presumed consent in 1999, said: "It [presumed consent] does work. It saves lives."

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