Proposals For ‘Opt-Out’ Organ Donation Scheme

13th February 2018

A public consultation has been launched on proposals to introduce a soft opt-out organ donation scheme, in the island.

Guernsey currently has an ‘opt-in’ system for organ donation, meaning people who would like to donate have to make their wishes clear.

Image taken from website

This can be done by telling friends or family, giving their consent through their driving license, or by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.

However, we are told there are many people who believe in organ donation, but have not joined the Organ Donor Register. This can make it more difficult for doctors to establish a patient’s wishes, and for friends and family to honour them.

The Committee for Health and Social Care is hoping to reflect changes made in Wales, which have resulted in an increase in donations, and move towards deemed consent or, soft opt-out, system.

This will assume that everyone living in Guernsey would like to donate their organs when they die, if possible, unless they have requested otherwise.

If the proposals are accepted, people will be able to be removed from the register, either totally, or with respect to particular organs.

The Committee says it recognises that sensitive processes must be in pace both to enable everyone to have the opportunity to record their decision clearly, and for families to be consulted before any organs are taken.

President of the Committee for Health and Social Care, Deputy Heidi Soulsby, says:

‘Organ donation is one of the most incredible achievements of modern medicine. The generosity of donors, and their families, transforms and saves lives. They can mean no longer needing to be dependent on treatments, being able to see again, or to experience life free from pain. 

The gift of an organ is very precious. There are currently over 6000 people waiting for an organ across the British Isles, many of whom will die waiting. I recognise that organ donation is an immensely sensitive and personal matter, and a decision that no one wants to make on behalf of a family member. 

The Committee believes our proposals provide the appropriate balance of recognising the importance of organ donation, and supporting islanders and their families in making informed decisions.’

The consultation can be accessed on the website, and will be open until the 23rd March.

Subject to the consultation’s outcome, proposals will be put to the States later this year.

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