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The latest news from the Human Tissue Authority
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Opt-out Bill becomes law


The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill is also known as the 'opt-out’ Bill. It received Royal Assent on 15 March which means that the Bill is now an Act of Parliament (law). Under this new system, everyone will be considered a potential organ and tissue donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate, or if they are in one of the excluded groups. This includes people who are under 18 years old, those who lack mental capacity, and people who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death or who are not living here voluntarily.

 
Although the Bill is now law, the system will not come into effect until spring 2020. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) will be leading on a year long communications campaign to raise public awareness on what this change in law means.
 


Campaigns: NHS Blood and Transplant


NHSBT's Pass it on campaign was launched on 25 April. The campaign aims to clearly inform people that the law is changing and what their choices are. It also encourages people to make a decision and share this with their family.

NHSBT's Living Transplant Initiative is inviting people to apply for funding to promote engagement and to encourage more living kidney donors among Black and Asian people, and those who are limited by their socio-economic situation. This can be through community events, and cultural and faith-based educational resources.
 

The HTA’s role

As the HTA regulates all establishments in the UK which undertake organ retrieval for transplantation, it is important that we update our advice and guidance for the healthcare practitioners that this will affect. It is also important for the public to understand this change too.

From the end of May this year, we will be running a 12 week public consultation on updating our Codes of Practice A and F. These Codes will explain the legal requirements and considerations under the new system. We will keep you updated!
Find out more

Opt-out consultation


The Department of Health and Social Care has recently launched a public consultation which seeks your views on whether certain organs and tissues should be excluded from the new opt-out organ donation system.

This would mean that transplants of certain organs and tissues will still need consent. The consultation closes on Monday 22 July.
Have your say!

Reappointment of four Authority Members


We are pleased to share the reappointment of four of our non-executive Authority MembersDr Stuart DollowProfessor Penney LewisThe Right Reverend Graham Usher, and Dr Lorna Williamson, OBE. We look forward to working with them for an additional three years from 1 April 2019. 



Our Authority Members apply their medical and scientific experience and skills to the HTA. Their responsibilities include setting our strategic direction and monitoring our performance. They also help us to assess whether or not to approve certain cases of living organ donation.

We are pleased to announce that Bill Horne's term as our Interim Chair has been extended until 30 September while we recruit for this permanent role. 
Meet our team

HTA activity


Deemed consent round-table event: Monday 25 February 
We hosted a round-table event with representatives of faith and cultural groups to discuss deemed consent in England. As previously mentioned, this will help us to develop our Codes of Practice A and F. These Codes will provide guidance to healthcare practitioners on how to incorporate faith and cultural beliefs in their discussions with families of potential donors.

Independent Assessor training: Wednesday 3 April 
Jennifer Cole and Laura Mullally (Transplant Officers at the HTA) have successfully trained nine Independent Assessors (IAs). IAs act as representatives of the HTA to ensure that the requirements of the Human Tissue Act 2004 are met in all cases of living organ donation.

These volunteers interview the donor and recipient to ensure that no reward has been sought or offered, and that the donor is not under any duress or coercion to donate. They then put this information into a report for us to review. We then decide on whether or not to approve the proposed donation. Find out more about this crucial role and how to apply here.

Upcoming events


HTA public Authority meeting: Thursday 9 May
We host a public Authority meeting each year as part of our commitment to honesty, openness and transparency. This is an opportunity for members of the public to observe how the HTA Board (Authority Members) and and senior management team discuss business. More information can be found here.

Service of thanksgiving: Friday 10 May
The London Anatomy Office organises a service of thanksgiving each year to commemorate body donors from the previous calendar year. The names and photographs of the commemorated donors are displayed throughout the service, and staff and students from the medical schools served by the London Anatomy Office will also be in attendance. This year, it will be held on Friday 10 May from 11am at St George’s Cathedral in Southwark.
 
The Departure Lounge: Friday 10 May - Friday 7 June 
The Departure Lounge has been developed by the Academy of Medical Sciences as a way of encouraging people to talk about death and dying, and to ensure that medical policy develops in line with people's views. This will be an installation, modelled as an airport departure lounge in Lewisham shopping centreVisitors will be able to share their thoughts and talk to a diverse mix of researchers and professionals with experience of death and dying. 

Dying Matters awareness week: Monday 13 May - Sunday 19 May
The theme for this year's Dying Matters Awareness week will centre on the question: Are We Ready? There are also different sub-themes for each day to generate more specific conversations; such as on funeral costs, memorialisation and grieving for a pet.

The Departure Lounge - Dead Beats: Thursday 16 May 
Dead Beats is an event organised as part of the Departure Lounge, which will focus on the type of music you would like to be played at your funeral. Join Steve Cross and a lineup of other comedians and experts on death, as they make their case for the playlist they want to send them on their way. Find out more about this event here

Pint of Science: Monday 20 May - Wednesday 22 May
Pint of science is a worldwide science festival which brings researchers to your local pub to present their scientific discoveries. From stem cells in the human nervous system to underwater cardiology in sharks - there is plenty to get involved in. See what's on offer!

HTA website developments


In the previous newsletter, we informed you that we were in the process of developing two new functions for the HTA website. We are pleased to announce that we have successfully implemented these new features:
 

Page last edited timestamps

Each content page now has a date stamp to explain when it was last updated.  
 

Notifications for inspection report publications

You can now sign up to receive an email notification when we publish inspection reports for our licensed establishments. You can do this by going onto their establishment page and clicking on the button below; this can be found at the top right of the page.

 


HTA Blog

We are planning to launch our HTA blog soon! You will be able to sign up and follow our series of blogs. You can also receive updates on comments for specific blog posts. We will let you know when our first blog has been published.

We would love for you all to get involved, so please do let us know any suggestions for blog topics.

What do you think about our body donor cards?


We send body donor cards with our body, brain and tissue donation packs to members of the public who have requested information on body donation. We also send these to anyone who requests one.

Like organ donor cards, body donor cards can be carried in your purse or wallet. They represent your decision and wish to become a body donor. You can also include the contact details of the medical school you have registered with. This helps your family to contact the right medical school and make suitable arrangements as soon as possible.

While this card represents your wish to donate, it does not replace the consent process or guarantee that the medical schools will accept the donation.

Following requests to the HTA for body donor cards, we started issuing our own versions to members of the public in 2016. Although we received a lot of positive feedback, we would like to know whether people still think these cards useful.

Please let us know your thoughts by clicking on the button below.
What do you think?

Join our public panel


As a newsletter subscriber, we know the work of the HTA is important to you.
 
You can play a part in improving our work by joining our public panel. In doing so, you will help us to produce useful information for the public, so that we can better inform people of our work which is to ensure that human tissue and organs are used safely, ethically, and with proper consent.
 

Taking part is easy

We may require your feedback when publishing new material. This could be a guide to a new medical technique that people are talking about, an update to our policies, or anything else that we would like your opinion on. Recently, we collaborated with our public panel to create information on cryonics - the cryopreservation of bodies after death.

We are not looking for experts, your honest feedback helps us to communicate clearly and share information that is easy to find and understand. There's no obligation, you can choose when you'd like to give us your feedback.

Join our public panel
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