Presumed consent to organ donation could be accepted UK-wide

Organ donation except where the person or family opts out has already been accepted in Wales.

Organ donation except where the person or family opts out has already been accepted in Wales.


In 2015, Wales introduced a system of presumed consent to organ donation except where the individual concerned or their family specifically opts out.

At this year’s Conservative Party conference, prime minister Theresa May announced there would be a consultation on introducing presumed consent in England.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have also expressed an interest in moving away from the traditional opt-in position that the countries have taken until now.

People’s decisions to donate their organs or those of their children are influenced by many factors, and nurses are in a privileged position to influence such decisions through close relationships with families.

In an evidence and practice article, Kamila Luberda and Karen Cleaver emphasise that good communication and good care are two of the biggest motivating factors, but that families will have others. Nurses would therefore benefit from good training to aid families in their decisions.

Áine Kelly is a remarkable young woman. She is working on PhD studies with the aim of gathering evidence that could improve the health of looked after children.

Abused and neglected as a child, she was taken into care, had mental health problems and found dealing with the health service difficult. At the age of 12 she decided she would not attend health appointments any more.

In an opinion article, she recalls being fortunate that the designated nurse for looked after children made the difference in her case. Her symptoms were controlled and she was well enough to graduate.

Now she is in the final months of a doctorate at Oxford University and has been conducting research with looked after children, who like her, find it hard to trust healthcare professionals. It is work that could influence policymakers, providers and young people themselves.

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