Government backs opt-out organ donation in England

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the UK Government will reform organ donation rules in England in favour of an opt-out system during her leader’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Such a system is already in use in Wales and to be introduced shortly in Scotland. Humanists UK, which has long worked for such a change, welcomes this announcement.

Evidence from Wales shows strong support for the new system. Of the 60 organs transplanted in Wales between December 2015 and June 2016, 30 came from donors with presumed consent and only 6% of people have opted out in Wales. Humanists UK played a key role in bringing about this change in Wales, giving oral evidence to the Welsh Assembly Government Committee Inquiry into presumed consent. In June 2017, the Scottish Government announced that it would be moving to a similar system. There are also strong calls for change in Northern Ireland, although a bill to introduce an opt-out system was defeated in the Legislative Assembly in 2016.

Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson commented, ‘We are thrilled that the Government has committed to the introduction of an opt-out system, which has already been shown to be hugely successful in Wales. There is now broad cross-party support for legislation, which we are hopeful will now be implemented very soon.’


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson on or 0781 55 89 636.

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