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Friday 28th October 2016

Donor 'opt-out' rejection

17th November 2008

The UK Organ Donation Taskforce has said the assumption that organs can be used for donation unless people opt-out showed "little evidence" that it would increase donor rates.


A £4.5 million government campaign was launched by the health secretary Alan Johnson this week to get 20 million people to register as donors by 2010, and 25 million by 2013.

Prime minister Gordon Brown has not ruled out changes to the current law regarding donation if the campaign does not succeed.

He said: "I'm not ruling out a further change in the law. We will revisit this when we find out how successful the next stage of the campaign has been."

Currently, the UK comes near the bottom of the list of countries in Europe with the lowest numbers of donors.

Although 8,000 people require an organ transplant, only 3,000 operations are performed annually and 1,000 people die while waiting for a donor.

People who wish to become donors have to join the organ donor register before their organs can be used for donation.

Elisabeth Buggins, chair of the taskforce, said they had reviewed more than 400 pages of evidence about the "presumed consent" issue.

Ms Buggins said: "We found from recipient families and donor families that the concept of gift was very important to them and presumed consent would undermine that concept.

"We also found that it has the potential to erode trust in doctors, and we know that is very important to the levels of donation."


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