Organ donation prompt on driving licence piloted

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Anyone applying for a driving licence from July will be required to answer a question regarding organ donation under a scheme being brought in by the Government.

The prompted choice system will make would-be drivers state if they want to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register or defer a decision until a later date.

It is hoped the DVLA pilot scheme will boost the numbers of those willing to give vital body parts to help others live in the case of their own death.

Under the current system, applicants can skip over a question on donation when applying for a driving licence.

But the new regime will require that they opt to either register for donation, state that they have already signed up or state: "I do not want to answer this question now."

At present, only 27% of people in the UK are registered donors.

But studies have shown that a far larger proportion are in favour of donating body parts.

Getting more people to sign-up could save the lives of some of the 8,000 people in the UK currently waiting for a transplant.

Prompted choice schemes in the US have seen a bump in registrations.

In Illinois, the percentage of donors has increased from 38% to 60% since 2008 following the introduction of a similar initiative.

Public health minister Anne Milton said: "Surveys show that a large number of people in the UK are happy to donate their organs for transplantation but haven't got round to registering.

"We hope that by prompting people into making a decision we can encourage more people to register.

"We also need people to think and talk about organ donation with their families so people know what family members want."

She added: "Being an organ donor is a truly selfless act and is the ultimate gift anyone could give.

"I would like to see all those people who are happy to donate their organs to sign up."