New organ donation law in England deems consent to be given

The Organ Donation Act has today passed into law, and from spring 2020 all adults in England will be considered potential donors unless they opt out or are excluded. The Act is known as Max and Keira's law in honour of a boy who received a heart transplant and the girl who donated it.

Every day, 3 people in the UK die while waiting for an organ transplant. The new law is intended to reduce the number of people on the waiting list, which currently stands at 6,000. 

According to the government, 80% of people in England support organ donation, but only 37% have signed up. The new system puts the burden on people to record their wishes not to donate, with certain exceptions. Children under 18, those considered mentally incapable of making the decision, and anyone who has not lived in England for at least 12 months before their death.

Before the law becomes active in 2020, the government will launch a public awareness campaign to make sure people understand the new system and the choices they have. Those who do not wish to donate will be able to record this through NHS Blood and Transplant’s website or helpline, or on the new NHS App.

Jackie Doyle-Price, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health and Inequalities, said: "This is a remarkable change that will make a real difference to so many lives and it has been a privilege to have supported the efforts of so many brilliant campaigners to pass Max and Keira’s law. The new system will mean hundreds more lives are saved every year."