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Changing the rules on organ donations

Andy Mullins
PA Consulting Group
The Times
21 November 2008

Sir, It appears the decision of the organ donation task force has been made on the basis that there isn’t clear evidence that a model of presumed consent improves donation rates. We disagree.

What is difficult to isolate is the impact of new legislation alone, but in every European country with a model of presumed consent, rates are higher and more lives are saved. We recognise, however, that a change in the law alone will not drive up the rate of donation, but it is possible to learn the lessons from these countries and apply them in combination, including marketing the benefits; supporting individuals who wish to opt out (particularly those with language problems); agreeing a “relative’s charter” covering bereavement counselling and the right to be told what ultimately happened to the donated organ(s); increasing the strength of organ transplant teams around the country; and automating the organ matching service with increased efficiency.

Even if the Government decides against a change in the law it must look to adopt some of these other strategies for driving up donation rates and avoiding needless suffering and death.

Andy Mullins
PA Consulting Group
London SW1W 9SR

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