Changes to the Organ Donation Register in England on the way

22nd February 2018

There is real shortage of organ donors in the UK, with only 1 in 3 people on the donor register. Right now there are around 250 people waiting for a new heart and most of these people will have cardiomyopathy.

The government is currently running a consultation on changing the way the organ donor register works in England. These changes would mean that you are presumed to consent to being a donor unless you opt-out of the organ donation register. The consultation is open until the 6th of March. You can find out how to take part here

Separate this consultation, on Friday 23rd February a private members bill supporting the move to a presumed consent system was passed in parliament. This means that the law is very likely to change in the near future.

Cardiomyopathy UK supports this change. A presumed consent system is already in place in Wales and Scotland is soon to follow. Presumed consent increases the number of people on the donor register and makes a clear statement about the importance of organ donation. Changing the rules can also prompt conversations among families about an individual’s wishes and help create a culture where organ donation is seen as the norm.

Cardiomyopathy UK would like to see a presumed consent system in England but only as part of a series of measures to improve the whole organ donation and transplantation process. These include;

1) A properly funded national publicity campaign to ensure that the public is aware of the changes to a “presumed consent” system.

2) An increase in efforts to encourage individuals to make an active decision to be on the register and to discuss their wishes with their families.

3) A guarantee that appropriate funding and training is in place for NHS staff working on the front line of the donation and transplantation service.

4) Continual assessment of the whole system for donation and transplantation within the UK to ensure that no opportunity to achieve successful transplantation of an organ is missed.

Joel Rose, Chief Executive at Cardiomyopathy UK said: “The change to presumed consent is important but will not on solve the problem on its own. There must be no let-up in efforts to encourage people to actively sign up and make their wishes known to their loved ones and we need to make sure our organ donation and transplant service is well funded and fit for purpose.”

We encourage everyone to consider signing up to the register and telling their family about their wishes.  Visit the NHS organ donor register for more information about organ donation and how to register.