Everyone In England Will Be Automatic Organ Donors From Next Year

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organ donationThe Sick Children's Trust/Inspired By Keira/Facebook

Adults in England will be considered potential organ donors from 2020, unless they opt-out or are excluded.

The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill received Royal Assent yesterday (March 15), which is known as Max and Keira’s Law, after nine-year-old Keira Bell donated her heart to 10-year-old Max Johnson.

Keira saved four lives in total, including Max’s, who suffered with dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease which affects the heart muscle.

The new system will come into force spring 2020, replacing the current opt-in voluntary system.

According to government statistics, there are more than 6,000 people in the UK currently waiting for an organ. Three people die every day while on the waiting list.

Currently, only 38 per cent of people in England have opted in.

In a press release, Prime Minister Theresa May said she hopes the new law will save hundreds of lives:

I’m delighted Max and Keira’s law has passed today. It marks a momentous step for thousands of people in need of a life-saving transplant, and could save as many as 700 lives a year.

With significantly more people willing to consider organ donation than are actually registered as donors, this vital step will presume consent unless people choose to opt out of being a donor.

It’s important that everyone takes the time to discuss their choices on donation with their families and register their wishes, whatever their preference may be.

The government will also launch a public awareness campaign to ensure people understand what choices they have, and how the new system works.

While anyone can choose to opt-out, if you are under 18 years old, lack the mental capacity to understand the changes for a significant period before your death, and have not lived in England for at least 12 months before your death, you will be excluded from the plan.

The government will look into whether certain organs should be excluded from the opt-out system.

Wales introduced an opt-out system in 2015, while Scotland is currently considering reform.

The news has been welcomed by many, and is being regarded a monumental change going forward.

Max himself told NHS Organ Donation he’s delighted by the news:

Thank you to everyone who has supported this law change. Even if it saves just one life, it will be worth it. I know what it is like to wait for an organ, so I hope the change in law will mean people won’t have to wait as long in the future.

I feel happy because I think the law change will make a difference.

My father had a life-saving liver transplant two years ago which helped me realise the importance of organ donation. It really is a wonderful gift!

To find out more about organ donation, visit the NHS Organ Donation website.

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