Don’t miss chance to have your say about Organ Donation

16/02/2021
Dr Declan Grace

People in the Western Trust area are being encouraged to share their views on organ donation before the end of a consultation period on new “Opt-out” proposals this Friday (19th February) at 5pm.

Launched in early December 2020 by Health Minister Robin Swan, the aim of the consultation is to capture the public’s views on introducing new legislation to change the current system here from “opt-in” to “opt-out.”

Under this proposed opt-out legislation, it is considered that everyone would be willing to donate their organs unless they have formally opted out. The family would continue to be consulted about donation as well as considerations around faith and beliefs. This will not change.

When the consultation was launched in December, Minister Swann said: “Whilst over 80% of the population supports organ donation, only 48% have recorded this decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

“This means that the NHS Organ Donor Register is not truly representative of Northern Ireland’s population’s willingness to donate their organs and tissue after their death.

“I would urge everyone to have the conversation about donation with their families and friends and let your loved ones know how you feel about this vitally important issue I would also encourage responses to the consultation to inform the proposed change in legislation.”

Speaking about the importance of the consultation Dr Declan Grace, Lead Clinician for Organ Donation at the Western Trust, said: “The value of an accurate and reflective Organ Donation Register cannot be overstated as one donor has the potential to save up to 9 lives.

“Currently in Northern Ireland donation will only ever proceed if a person had given their express consent for organ donation, usually by signing on to the NHS Organ Donor Register and/or speaking to their family. In the absence of this, the family is asked to make a difficult decision on behalf of the patient.”

“This new system would assume that consent has been given unless the individual has “opted out.” This simple legislative change has the power to make a huge different to those people waiting on the register and gives everyone one of us the ability to save lives.”

The consultation closes at 5pm on 19 February 2021.

Everyone is encouraged to read about the consultation and submit a response at:

 www.health-ni.gov.uk/consultations/organ-donation