The new opt out system for organ donation is introduced today, 20th May 2020.
In basic terms, it means that unless you have taken steps to make it clear that you don’t wish to donate organs after you have died, it will be considered that you consent to your organs being donated for the good of very sick people.
It is a real change in the law as it alters the starting point for the discussion the medics will have with you family after you’ve died. There has been a lot of debate about these issues and I think that there was a general consensus that many people would have no objection to donation but don’t actually register as organ donors.
The law applies to mentally capacious adults but there are many safeguards written into the rules. Your family still needs to be consulted and if they are not in agreement with your views, you are able to appoint two persons to speak on your behalf. Remember that this is only after you’ve died, but it is important to make your family know your wishes and if possible, still register as a donor to reflect your wishes.
As the presumption in favour of donation now exists, if you do not wish your organs to be donated it is very important that you register your decision to opt out on the NHS Organ Register. Your family should have enough information to represent your views correctly, after you have died. It is your responsibility to ensure that they are able to speak for you.
I encourage you to think about these important matters. There are very few opportunities for organ donation which is only potentially possible following 1 a 100 deaths, and many of these deaths will be in untimely and unexpected circumstances.