Plans to change the rules on organ donation consent in England, which it is claimed could save up to 500 lives a year, have been backed by MPs. A bill requiring people to “opt out” if they do not want their organs used passed its first parliamentary hurdle.
Labour’s Julie Elliott, whose daughter is receiving dialysis for a serious kidney disease, said it would give hope to thousands of transplant patients. The MP said her experience had made her realise how “special” donors were. Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson’s private members’ bill, which would bring England into line with Wales which already has an opt-out system for consent, passed its second reading on Friday.
The government has said it “wholeheartedly” supported the bill, which it said would be referred to the changes as Max’s Law, after nine-year-old Max Johnson, who benefited from a heart transplant. There are 25 million people on the organ donation register but 6,500 patients are waiting for a transplant. At the moment in England, organs can only be used if explicit approval is given, either by signing the register or if the deceased had told a family member of their desire to donate.