Today I questioned Prime Minister David Cameron about bringing an ‘opt-out’ (presumed consent) system of organ donation to the rest of the UK, following its introduction in Wales.
The Welsh Labour Government implemented this legislation in 2015, and evidence from around the world has shown that countries with an opt-out system see higher levels of organ donation, and therefore more lives saved.
The Prime Minister responded that, having considered the issue he maintains a position of improving the opt-in donation system, though he didn’t give any specific details of how this may be achieved.
The Full text of the question and response:
Jo Stevens MP:
“There are currently over 7000 people in the UK needing an organ transplant, including 139 children. Many will die because of the shortage of available organs. The Welsh Labour Government has already introduced ground breaking legislation for opt-out organ donation in Wales. Will the Prime Minster join me in supporting the Change the Law for Life campaign for opt-out organ donation throughout the UK?”
Rt Hon David Cameron:
“I’m always happy to look at this again. I’ve looked at it before and haven’t come out in favour of opting out. We debated, I think, in the last Parliament and made quite a lot of moves to making opt-in much easier and we found that if you look at different hospitals, different areas of the country, there’s very different records in terms of how well they do.
“So my personal position is that’s something we should support and continue to drive, but this House of Commons can vote from time to time on this issue, about whether it wants to go down the Welsh track rather than the track we’re on. Personally, as I say, let’s make opt-in work better.”
I hope that the Prime Minister re-considers his position, in light of the statistics and evidence from around the world, and the Government take steps to move the rest of the UK to an opt-out system like the one the Welsh Labour Government brought in for Wales.