Government announces organ ‘opt-out’ donation system by 2020

6th August 2018

The Government has announced the introduction of a new ‘soft’ opt out system for organ donation in England, in order to tackle the shortage of donors.

Cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of heart transplants in the UK, and here at Cardiomyopathy UK we have fully supported this proposal, as we know how life-changing a donated heart can be for someone with cardiomyopathy.  

The new system is expected to come into force by 2020, and hundreds of lives could be saved each year by many receiving the life-saving transplants they need to live. Individuals will be able to record their preferences on a new NHS app launched later this year or via a helpline and website.

Cardiomyopathy UK, Chief Executive Joel Rose said, “Organ donation saves lives. 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.”

The new proposal, which will be known as Max’s Law, will ensure the wishes of the majority of people are better represented. Currently, there is real shortage of organ donors in the UK, with only 1 in 3 people on the donor register. Right now, there are more than 6,000 people on the NHS waiting list for a transplant. There are also around 300 people waiting for a new heart and most of these people will have cardiomyopathy.

The announcement follows a consultation earlier this year, in which the Government sought views from members of the public about organ donation, receiving a record 17,000 responses.  

Under the proposals, children under 18, individuals who lack the mental capacity to understand the changes and people who have not lived in England for at least 12 months before their death will be excluded from the plans.

Find out more about our stance on organ donation