This week, a bill to make changes to the organ donation system passed its final reading in The House of Lords unopposed, meaning it will now become law.
When it comes into force, this new law, The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill, will mean that people in England will have to opt-out if they do not want to donate their organs, rather than the current system of opting in.
This aim of this new law is to save the lives of people who are waiting for a donor, because despite the majority of people saying they would donate their organs, a much smaller percentage are actually registered as donors.
In England there are more than 40,000 people alive today thanks to organ donation but sadly due to a shortage of donors, three people die every day while waiting for an organ. Although organ donation rates have increased in the UK in recent years, thousands of people remain on the waiting list.
In 2017, the Government announced it would introduce a new opt-out system and a consultation on the issue attracted more than 17,000 responses.
In the House of Lords last week, the Bill was passed without opposition with tributes paid to the many people and organisations who have supported it.
This bill is often referred to as Max and Keira’s Bill in honour of 10-year-old Max Johnson, who was waiting for a heart transplant and donor, nine-year-old Keira Ball, whose organs were used to save four people’s lives, including Max, following her death in a road accident.
After Royal Assent, the new rules will come into force in 2020, following a year-long transition to inform the public and allow time for people to discuss their organ donation preferences. Those who don’t want to be an organ donor will be able to record their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
As a registered organ donor, I fully support this law and hope it will help save hundreds of lives every year.