In October 2017, the Prime Minister announced a consultation on the current legislative system for organ donation in England.

Join the national conversation 

The consultation includes the proposal of a new opt-out system for organ donation for England. Under the current system people, who want to donate their organs ‘opt in’ or agree to donate after their death by signing up as a donor on the NHS Organ Donor Register and telling their family their decision. If the person had not recorded a decision to donate then NHS Blood and Transplant staff sensitively provide information to their family to help them to reach a decision about whether organ donation should go ahead.

The aim of the consultation is to establish what more could be done in England to ensure that the overwhelming public support for organ donation is supported both within the legal system and in the NHS and that a person’s decision to donate is supported whenever possible. More information is available on the Department of Health website

Why change the current organ donation system?

NHS Blood and Transplant welcomes the Government’s commitment to the lifesaving power of organ donation. We support any initiative which leads to more organ donors and more lives being saved.

Organ and tissue donation saves or drastically improves the lives of thousands of people every year and there is very strong support for organ donation within the English population. Over 80% of people say that they would be willing to donate their organs after their death but only 36% have recorded this decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

However, at any one time there are around 6,500 people on the transplant waiting list and on average three people die each day in the UK in need of an organ transplant.

Jade's wait for a liver transplant

Jade Gulliver who died waiting for a liver transplantJade Gulliver died aged 27 waiting for a liver transplant. She had viral hepatitis and left behind her two boys, Kai and Max.

Jade's sister Crystal said: “You hear about transplants on the telly but you never expect it to happen to someone you know.

“She kept getting sicker and sicker. I can’t explain what it was like - waiting every day for a phone call that never came. We take the boys to the bench we have in Jade’s memory for birthdays and anniversaries and we show them pictures. 

“I will be the first to admit before this tragedy, I also was almost ignorant to organ donation. Now I want to do everything in my power to prevent this from happening, so that no more families have to go through what our family has been through, and is going through.”

The consultation

The Department of Health is responsible for the consultation. NHS Blood and Transplant’s role is to provide a reliable source of information to the public and continue to promote the importance of organ donation.

We hope people will take time to think about organ donation, and make a decision about what they want. If they want to donate, people should sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and discuss their decision with their family so that their intention to give the gift of life after death is fully understood. We also hope people will join the national conversation about organ donation that the consultation brings.

Further information:


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