Guest column: Public consultation on organ donation is welcome

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

This week in the Commons one of my colleagues has been attempting to change the law on organ donation in England.

There are around 6,500 people across the UK waiting for an organ transplant and I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected.

Transplants save lives and improve quality of life and I believe that there is a lot more to do to ensure as many people as possible in the UK receive the transplant they need.

I support the move to an opt-out system of organ donation in England.

Wales has already introduced an opt-out system and the Scottish Government has announced its intention to bring forward similar legislation.

A related petition calling for this change has been signed by more than 71,000 people.

On October 4, 2017 the Government confirmed it will launch a consultation on increasing rates of organ donation and it is seeking views on a wide range of opinions.

I am pleased that the Government is allowing anyone with a view to take part in the consultation.

I believe medical and healthcare professionals must be involved in designing any changes to the system and they must have the support to raise awareness among the public.

I also believe the Government must work closely with community groups to ensure that cultural and religious views are taken into account before any change is introduced.

I hope that this debate will drive a national conversation about organ donation.

Whatever legislation is in place, telling your family of your organ donation decision lets them know what you want to happen and means your family don’t have to make a difficult decision when they are grieving.