Saturday, November 15, 2008

So Gordon Brown's Opt Out proposal has been turned down by the Organ Donor Task Force.

Interestingly, I am neither surprised nor bothered by this result.

Opt-out seems in theory like the perfect solution, but after a couple of years of delving much deeper into transplantation and organ donation it's become clear that actually it is far from the definitive answer.

The issue of opt out is a very complex one, with so many factors it is actually difficult to see what kind of affect a law like that would actually have on organ donation rates.

Emmie (as always) explains things much better than I do on our intoto forum:

I have to say that the decision didn't come as too much of a surprise to me as I had been getting the vibes for some time that the taskforce was unlikely to come out in favour of legislative change. I don't believe its a huge blow however and I think that much more important steps are being taken to improve donation and transplant rates thanks to the government's acceptance in full of the task force's recommendations that came out in January. Thess aim to increase organ donation rates by 50% over the next 5 years and is based on the success of the Spanish system of organ donation. Contrary to what the media may be saying, Spain has the highest donor rates in the world because of its system not because of its presumed consent laws (and this is backed up by the man who set up their system).

Even if we had gone for an Opt-Out system of consent, families would still need to support their loved one's organs being donated in order for it to proceed so the key would still be education, awareness and understanding just as it is now. And there would have been the danger of a backlash against the system with people removing themselves from the list in order to make a point. To my mind the most important thing is that plans are already being carried out to change the UK's organ donor crisis and I think that this change is long overdue.

I am not against opt-out, and it bugs me when people start ranting about "choices being made for them" (surely if that's the case the choice is currently being made for them not to donate!?) but I personally do feel now would not have been the right time to bring in opt-out: people are not ready for it, there is too much confusion, too many myths, and too little education, all of which must be tackled first.

I was on LBC yesterday talking about it all and it looks like I will be on This Morning and on ITV lunchtime news on Monday....will keep you posted.

I am off to a LLTGL Meeting today and very excited about seeing everyone and doing looooads of work. WOO!


Jen said...

I am not surprised by this result but what does bother me about it is the reaction that I have seen to the general issue of organ donation. It just highlights that there are so many myths out there surrounding the whole issue e.g people who say they would opt 'no' to donation because Drs would have an eye on their organs rather than giving them the best care. I would really like to see a positive government campaign, perhaps like the one they did for giving blood

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