Friday, October 19, 2007

Do you back 'opt-out' organ donation?

According to a poll carried out for the BMA over 66% of the public believe that the UK should move to an 'opt-out' (presumed consent) system for organ donation. There are two different forms of 'opt-out':

a. organs are retrieved regardless of the wishes of the family, unless the person had registered an objection ( hard opt-out);

b. in the absence of any declaration from the deceased, the issue of donation would be discussed with the family ( soft opt-out).

Currently there are 14 European nations operating under a system of 'presumed consent'.
Austria,Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland Portugal, Slovak, Republic, Spain and Sweden. Does it work? In 2006, Abadie and Gay published a detailed regression analysis of 22 countries over 10 years taking into account a range of determinants that might affect donation rates. They concluded that “when other determinants of donation rates are accounted for, presumed consent countries have roughly 25-30% higher donation rates than informed consent countries."

Personally, I am very much in favour. Presently there are about 7,000 people on the waiting list and a severe shortage of organs. The sooner the government brings legislation forward in this area the better.


Colin Campbell said...

This issue has been in the public domain here in Australia, with the current Health Minister (former priest) saying that Australians were not ready for opt out. It is easy to opt in, but the issue here is the same as the UK. Not enough donations.

Personally I have a squemish issue with carving up my dead body, but would not opt out if it was an option.

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Andrew Allison said...

This is something we can agree on Mike. I have been in favour of this for a long time.

I carry a donor card. I have done for the past 18 years. My family know my wishes, however there are people who simply have never thought about it. If everyone understands that they are in unless they opt-out, there will be more organs available and more lives will be saved.

ThunderDragon said...

I very much agree with this. So long as those who wish to opt out can do so at least as easily as they can opt in today, I cannot see how anyone can object.

Shades said...

If the scheme was changed to an opt-out one rather than an opt-in one, I'd be inclined to remove myself from the register, something I've been on for 28 years or so. Force is not the answer to foolishness.

Political Penguin said...

All in favour of presumed consent. I can't understand why someone after their death wouldn't want to give the possibility of life to someone else, surely it is the greatest gift anyone could ever give?

Red-Rag said...

I am in agreement with the proposed new scheme. The main problem with the current opt-in system is the substantial apathy experienced in the UK. So long as the opt-out system was a simple as the current opt-in, why not implement it and let this apathy work as a benefit rather than against us? We're currently lacking enough organs because so many people never get around to signing up for a donor card. Think of all those organs that could save so many lives of people on the waiting lists. If people don't bother to opt-out, they clearly don't have a major opposition to being a donor. For those who do, Jehovah's Witnesses for example, they could opt out with no problems. This way many more organs are avilable to those who need them, but those who don't want to donate still don't have to. "Shades" - that attitude is how people are losing their lives waiting for a transplant - I hope you never need one because if lots of people spoke like that you wouldn't get one or you may well die waiting.