ADULTS WILL be opted in to the organ donation register automatically from May 20, the government announced today.
It is hoped the new system will address the shortage of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) organ donors in England.
Last year, one in five of those who died while waiting for an organ transplant were from a BAME background.
Orin Lewis, ACLT co-founder and CEO, said: “Six thousand people across the UK are currently waiting for a transplant and sadly many will die waiting. It is for this reason, ACLT is thrilled to hear the new opt-out organ donation system will be introduced on the 20th of May 2020.”
While organ donations from the BAME communities reached a record high in 2019, there continues to be a severe gap between those waiting for an organ and those registered to donate.
Many black patients are able to receive organ or tissue donations from white people but the chance of a successful match is higher when the donor is from the same ethnic background.
Lewis said: “While we encourage people of all races to record their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register website, we have a particular focus on engaging with the black community on this subject matter especially when ethnicity matching is so vital as many from this group are disproportionately affected.”
The minister for care, Helen Whately, encouraged people to speak with their families and friends about their wishes.
She said: “The incredible gift of organ donation means that one family’s tragedy can bring new hope for another.
“At the moment, the chances of this are lower because of the shortage of available organs and tissues. This new law can help change that, saving many more lives every year.
The organs and tissue that feature on the list of routine transplants include heart, lungs, kidneys and nervous tissue.
Following a 12-week consultation conducted last year, a number of organs and tissues will be excluded from deemed consent.
Those who have already opted out of donating some or all of their organs will not have to re-record their decision.
The new legislation will be implemented this summer, subject to parliamentary approval.
The legislation, Max and Keira’s law, named after Max Johnson and Keira Bell, both nine.
Keira’s heart was donated to Max after she died in a car accident in 2017.
It comes after Wales introduced an opt-out system for organ donation in 2015.
To find out more about organ donation and to record your wishes click here.