Back in October the government announced that it would be holding a consultation about the topic of an opt-out organ donation system, similar to the system currently in place in Wales and the one planned for Scotland. Now that consultation has made its way online, so that the general public can have their say.
The idea being the consultation is to work out how people feel about an opt-out organ donation system, known in some places as presumed consent. What that means is that if someone objects to their organs being used for transplants, on whatever grounds, they need to specifically say so. It's the opposite of what we have now, where a person has to sign onto the organ donation register to consent to their organs being used after they die.
Apparently, while 80 per cent claim to be willing to donate their organs after they die only around 36 per cent are registered.
Health minister Jeremy Hunt has said that three people die everyday while waiting for a transplant, which is why he considers the consultation so important. The idea is that people will have their say on the proposed system, to better help the government decide how to proceed in the future. He also expressed a desire that people overcome their "fatal reluctance" to talk about organ donation and make sure their families know what their wishes are before they die.
The consultation is also designed to work out which groups will be affected by potential changes, what opt-out exemptions will be required, and how much power a family should have over their deceased relative's organs. Back in October the NHS claimed that 500 families had rescinded consent since 2010, despite knowing their deceased relative was a registered organ donor. Personally I think that's incredibly fucked up.