Jeremy Corbyn sets out plan to make everyone an organ donor in Labour conference speech

The change will be made 'that everybody whose life could be saved by an organ transplant can have the gift of life'

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 27 September 2017 14:26
Labour conference: Corbyn announces promise to change organ donation law to a standing ovation

Labour will make everyone an organ donor unless they opt out, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

The organ donor register will automatically opt everyone in unless they say they want to be out. That rule is already in place in Wales, but the change wouldn't apply in Scotland, which has a separate health service.

"There are more than 5,000 people on organ transplant waiting lists, but a shortage of donors means that in recent years only 3,500 of them get the life-saving treatments they need," Mr Corbyn said.

"So that everybody whose life could be saved by an organ transplant can have the gift of life – from one human being to another.

"The law has already been changed in Wales under Carwyn Jones’s leadership, and today I make the commitment a Labour government will do the same for England."

In Wales, the policy means that anyone who doesn't opt out is presumed to have no objection to having their organs donated. Instead, people must opt out by putting their name onto the organ donor register, or by choosing someone who can make the decision for them after their death.

The rule only applies to people who are judged able to consent, so that people with severe learning difficulties or dementia will be opted out automatically, for instance. That's one of a range of restrictions present in the Welsh law, which went into effect at the end of 2015.

Authorities said the rule had been introduced to deal with the number of people who died because they were unable to find an organ donation. The year before it was introduced, 14 people died in Wales while they were waiting for a transplant.

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