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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Organ donation law change rejected in UK

14 November, 2008  

Changing the law so that consent to donate organs will be the presumed default position has reportedly been rejected by the UK government’s Organ Donation Taskforce.

Many patients’ groups are strongly opposed to the move, and the Prime Minister himself voted against the proposed change in 2004. But earlier this year he indicated he was more favourably disposed to a change.

He appeared to favour a new law that would require people to actively opt out of the donor register if they did not want body parts transplanted after death.

He said: “A system of this kind seems to have the potential to close the aching gap between the potential benefits of transplant surgery in the UK and the limits imposed by our current system of consent.”

But his support for a law change is undermined by the hostility from the taskforce, which includes healthcare professionals and lawyers.

The Times newspaper has also quoted a Whitehall source as saying: “It’s fair to say this report is not helpful to the case for a change in the law to presumed consent.”

Copyright Press Association 2008

British Transplant Society