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Clinical Articles, News & Views

BHF calls for presumed organ donation consent

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is calling for a soft ‘opt-out’ system to be introduced across the UK, where it is assumed that someone is happy to be an organ donor, unless they or their family say otherwise, according to a recent statement.

The BHF has been urging people to sign-up to the organ donation register and discuss their wishes with their loved ones, as the latest statistics show that nearly 40 people died while waiting for a heart transplant between April 2014 and March 2015.1

Only 183 heart transplants were carried out in the UK last year – a drop of 10% from the previous year. 38 heart patients died while they were on the waiting list. Meanwhile the number of patients requiring an urgent heart transplant has nearly doubled since 2010,1 and statistics also show that 289 people are currently waiting for a heart or a heart or lung transplant.2

Mike Hobday, Director of Policy at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Tragically the number of heart donors has not kept pace with the number of people waiting for a heart transplant. We must take a fresh approach to help increase the number of organ donors and ensure more people get the transplant they so desperately need. That’s why we’re calling for the rest of the UK to follow Wales’ lead and change the law to implement a soft ‘opt-out’ system of organ donation. This would mean everyone is assumed to want to donate their organs unless they or their family say otherwise.”

Wales will be implementing a ‘soft opt-out’ system from December. The rest of the UK must follow suit to help save more lives, the BHF says.

References

1. NHS Blood and Transplant activity report 2014/2015. NHS 2015. Available here: http://nhsbtmediaservices.blob.core.windows.net/organ-donation-assets/pdfs/activity_report_2014_15.pdf

2. NHS Blood and Transplant weekly reporting, as of the 27th August 2015

Published on: September 30, 2015

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