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Plans to boost organ donation

16th January 2008

The government has given its support to new proposals to dramatically increase the number of organ transplants in the UK.

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The plan is to overhaul the organ donation system to boost the number of transplants by 1,200 a year, though it has emerged that a system of “presumed consent� – where everyone is regarded as a donor unless they opt out – is not one of the options under discussion.

The 14 proposals by the Organ Donation Taskforce include 24-hour organ retrieval teams, increasing the number of transplant co-ordinators and reimbursing trusts that aid the process of organ donations.

There will also be a UK-wide minimum period in which donor co-ordinators must be notified of patients whose death is expected. The subject of presumed consent will be looked at as a separate issue, and politicians are keen for there to be further public debate in this area.

At present there are about 8,000 people waiting transplant with that figure rising by 8% each year.

Taskforce chairwoman Elisabeth Buggins said she expected the recommendations to be accepted with the hope that the initiatives would improve the organ donor situation before the issue of presumed consent needed to be considered further.

Conservative shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley has written to Prime Minister Gordon Brown urging him to clarify his position on organ donation.

The Department of Health has say it is looking at starting to implement the new proposals straight away in a strategy it hopes over the next five years will increase the number of donor organs by 50%.

 

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