A second reading of a private members bill on organ donation and the opt-out system took place on Friday 23 February. This bill was put in place by Geoffrey Robinson MP (right) and should the Government move forward with a new organ donation system this could be the basis of the law. The Government has stated that it will 'wholeheartedly' support the Bill. You can find out more about the process involved on the parliament website.
He (Mr Robinson) said during the reading, “We have some of the lowest rates of consent for donation in Western Europe, effectively preventing one third of available organs from being used.
"On the present waiting list of 6,500, some 500 are, in effect, on a life sentence and will, without an organ becoming available, die in the next year.
“I believe this House would agree that that just simply isn’t good enough. I believe we can do better.”
The Bill will provide the means for legislation to change the system by which consent is given for organ donation to an opt-out system. At present people wishing to donate their organs must actively sign the Organ Donor Register to confirm they wish to donate.
4712 people have died in the past decade while waiting for an organ
Kidney Care UK was pleased to provide support to the bill, and we are grateful to the many kidney patients who wrote to their MPs to ask them to come and provide support. It was an emotionally charged debate as parliamentarians told how organ donation affected their constituents, with several talking about kidney disease; Julie Elliott, from Sunderland Central, told how kidney failure had affected her daughter Rebecca.
At just before 12:30 the debate ended and the bill was passed unanimously. It will now go to committee, for detailed consideration, back for a 3rd reading and onto the Lords. This development means that any future law can be enacted more swiftly with the full support of the government. We hope that a soft opt-out system, supported by targeted and consistent public awareness, honouring organ donors and their families, and capacity to carry out more transplant operations will be the result.
Many people who would donate their organs simply do not get round to signing the register at present. This new scheme would make it much easier for these people to donate and thus increase the number of potential donors, whilst also respecting the wishes of people who do not wish to do so.
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