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Organ donation: a gift

The Government has launched an open consultation, entitled ‘Introducing “opt-out” consent for organ and tissue donation in England’, which will run until 6th March. Commenting on the consultation on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Paul Mason, the bishop responsible for healthcare, said: ‘The Government’s plans to introduce “opt-out” consent for organ and tissue donation in England undermine the concept of donation as a gift, and cross the line of what is a reasonable action for the state to take in relation to the individuals within it.

‘Moreover, the structure of ‘opt-out’ consent doesn’t necessarily succeed. This system was introduced in Wales in December 2015. Since then there has in fact been a slight decrease in organ transplants in Wales, compared with an increase in England over the same period.

‘When an “opt-out” system is implemented for organ donation, it is no longer a gift. Voluntary organ donation is an intrinsic good and something I’d encourage all people to consider.’