Max and Keira’s Law comes into place next year, when all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups (people under 18, people who lack the capacity to understand the change and people who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death or who are not living here voluntarily).
The campaign aims to highlight organ donation and the law change on several different levels:
- Organ donation is a precious gift: you can save and transform up to nine lives by passing on your organs
- Make and share your decision: It’s your choice whether or not you want to donate. Make your decision and pass it on to those closest to you
- Spread the word: Help pass on the message about the change in the law around organ donation in England, and what it means, to others
A survey carried out by NHS Blood and Transplant in January 2019, found only 37% of people over 16 were aware that the law around organ donation was changing. While this rose to half of over 55s, amongst certain groups awareness is much lower – for example, only 21% of 16 - 20 year olds and 27% of people from BAME backgrounds.
Although the law is changing it will still be the generosity of individual donors and their families who decide at the most difficult time to support organ donation, which will ensure more transplants can happen and more lives can be saved.Anthony Clarkson Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, says: “Organ donation is, and always will be, a precious gift. Although the law is changing it will still be the generosity of individual donors and their families who decide at the most difficult time to support organ donation, which will ensure more transplants can happen and more lives can be saved. Regardless of the organ donation decision you make, the most important thing is to make sure your family are aware of your decision. We hope that by increasing awareness and understanding of organ donation, we can inspire more individuals and families to agree to donation and allow many more lives to be saved.”
Jackie Doyle-Price, Minister for Inequalities said: "Far too many people in need of an organ transplant are still dying on a waiting list. We hope that Max and Keira's Law will save hundreds of lives when it comes into effect next year - but until then, it’s vital people understand what the new law means for them. I want to reassure everyone that choosing to give the gift of life still is and always will remain a personal decision. I strongly urge people to talk to their loved ones about their wishes and make their decision clear on the register."
Fiona Loud, Policy Director of Kidney Care UK added: “Changes to the organ donation system in England in order to save more lives are particularly encouraging for the 8 out of 10 people currently on the waiting list in need of a kidney transplant. Max and Keira’s Law has the opportunity to stop people dying needlessly, however evidence from other countries who have moved to an opt-out system tells us more work will need to be done. We now need the Government to invest in resources to help the law change become a success; increasing transplantation requires a continuous and sensitive focus on working with families who must allow a donation to take place, as well as appropriately trained staff and adequate system capacity to ensure more transplants can take place.
We’re delighted to support the Pass It On campaign launch today and we hope this will help transform the culture in England to one that sees organ donation as the norm.”
Once the new system is introduced across England, families will still be involved before any organ or tissue donation goes ahead and NHS Blood and Transplant Specialist Nurses will continue to speak with families about their loved one’s decision. To find out more about organ donation, the law change, or to opt in or out, visit the organ donation website
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