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MPs back change to opt-out organ donation

A bill to change organ donation to an "opt-out" system has passed its second reading in Parliament. The bill has to pass through a number of stages before it can become law, so this does not mean the "opt-out" system has been introduced.

This is a private members bill (a bill raised by an MP or Lord who is not a government minister), raised by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson. It is supported by all party leaders.

The bill seeks to introduce a new system for organ donation referred to as an “opt-out” system. This deems consent to have been given for organ donation after you die if you haven’t proactively chosen to record your wish to opt-out.  To make this change, the term ‘deemed consent’ will be added to the section on ‘appropriate consent’ in the Human Tissue Act 2004.

The Human Tissue Authority is working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and government Ministers to understand what implications it will have for us.

See the latest

Have your say on organ donation

The Department of Health and Social Care are continuing to run a public consultation on changing to an ‘opt-out’ system of organ donation, to improve organ donation rates in England. This system of organ donation means that unless a person has registered or expressed a decision not to donate their organs after their death, they will be regarded as having no objection to donation.

The bill recently passed its second reading in Parliament, if it passes the remaining stages it will become law. The Government will take responses to this consultation into account when implementing any new system.

The consultation is asking for comments on the proposed new system on areas such as:
  • How much say should families have in their deceased relative's decision to donate their organs?
  • When would exemptions to 'opt-out' be needed, and what safeguards will be necessary?
  • How might a new system affect certain groups depending on age, disability, race or faith?
The consultation will run until 6 March 2018, after which a Government response will be published.
Find out more and have your say

Is it possible to be an organ and body donor?

We have recently had lot of enquiries from people wanting to know whether it is possible to arrange and consent for more than one type of donation after death. There are several options for donating your body, organs and other parts of your body, and it is possible to register your interest and consent for more than one option. However, these all run on seperate systems, which can be complex to navigate.

To find out more about the options for donation and how they might work together, read our Body, Brain and Tissue Donation Pack. If you have further questions, please contact us.

Read the pack
Independent Assessor (IA)

Help regulate living organ donation with the HTA

The HTA regulates the donation of organs (such as kidneys, livers) in the UK from living people by making the decision on whether the donation can go ahead, based on criteria set out in law (Human Tissue Act 2004).

We make a decision for each living organ donation with the help of Independent Assessors (IAs), representatives of the HTA who work independently of the transplant unit, interviewing donors and recipients to ensure that legal requirements are being met.

IAs come from a variety of backgrounds and do not need to be medically qualified. Our current IAs include hospital Chaplains and retired healthcare staff, teachers and judges. Anyone who meets our IA role specification could apply. If you are interested, please contact your local transplant unit.

Once agreed with the living donor coordinators (specialist transplant nurses) at a transplant unit, applicants can send in their application forms to the HTA. We provide you with training and advice to carry out the role.

If you have questions about the role, please email us or call 020 7269 1900.

Find out more about IAs

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For those who have taken it already, it has taken on average just two minutes. We want to hear from everyone, even if you're a first time visitor.

The results will help us improve how we inform and communicate online. You have until midnight on Sunday 4 March.
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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 have a say in helping us produce useful information for the public, so we can better inform people of the work we do to ensure that human tissue and organs are used safely, ethically, and with proper consent.

Taking part is easy

Sign up below, and when we're working on new material we will send it to you for feedback. This could be a guide to a new medical technique people are talking about, an update to our policies, or anything else we would like your opinion on. Recently, we collaborated with our public panel to create the public guides to our new Codes of Practice, and guidance on storing cord blood.

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 your feedback.

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