England could move to 'opt out' organ donation system, Downing Street says

The Government is monitoring the results of changes in Scotland and Wales

More than 20 million people are currently on the donor register
More than 20 million people are currently on the donor register

England could follow Scotland and Wales by moving to an “opt out” system of organ donation, Downing Street has indicated.

Theresa May’s spokesperson said that the Government was “keeping a close eye” on the new policy enacted by the devolved governments to see whether it boosted donation rates.

“Organ donation hit a record high last year here and we obviously want that to continue and continue to rise,” she said.

“We are keeping a close eye on the changes in Wales and Scotland and their effect on donation rates in considering whether we would change our policy.”

She added: “We want everyone to discuss their organ donation wishes with families and friends so their wishes can be respected.”

The Government says that in 2016-17 the UK had its highest ever deceased donor and transplant rates, with more than 23.5 million people now on the organ donor register.

The Scottish government is bringing forward legislation for a “soft” opt-out system, meaning organs cannot be removed without the consent of relatives.

But there will not be a requirement that deceased individuals must have signed up to be donors, as is the case in England and Northern Ireland.

Health is a devolved issue in the UK so the different home nations have different policies.

Additional reporting by PA

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