Family and public support helping save lives one year on from the introduction of Max and Keira’s Law

A year on from the law around organ donation changing in England, NHS Blood and Transplant and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) are urging people to talk to their families about organ donation to help give them peace of mind that they are honouring your personal decision, and to increase the number of people whose lives can be saved or transformed by an organ transplant.

Since the law came into effect in May 2020, people in England are considered as willing to donate, unless they have opted out, are in one of the excluded groups or have told their family they don’t want to donate. Similar legislation was introduced in Wales in 2015 and Scotland also switched to an opt-out system in March this year.

Prior to the law change, around 80% of people in England said that they supported organ donation in principle, but only 38% had actually recorded their decision to donate. When asked, the majority said they just hadn’t got around to it.

Even though the law around organ donation has now changed, it is important to know that people still have a choice and families will still be consulted if organ donation becomes a possibility.

Ann Jones, NFWI Chair of Public Affairs says:

“Our Time to Talk about Organ Donation campaign recognises that the decision to donate is a deeply personal one. Even though the law has changed in England, you still have a choice and it’s still really important to share your decision about organ donation, whatever that may be, with your family.

“We are pleased to be supporting NHS Blood and Transplant in encouraging more people to have this important conversation, which can help save lives and give families the certainty they need to know they are supporting the decisions of loved ones.”

Aisling Fee, Senior Partnership Development Officer at NHS Blood and Transplant says:  

“While most people agree that it is important to talk to their family about organ donation, it is less likely that they will have actually had this important conversation.

“Even though the law around organ donation has changed, families will still be approached before organ donation goes ahead. Sadly, many opportunities are lost each year because families don’t know if their loved one wanted to be a donor or not.

“Please don’t wait. Speak to your family about organ donation today.”

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant says:  

“We are very grateful to the NFWI for its support of organ donation. With organ donation and transplantation both heavily impacted by the pandemic, it is more important than ever for people to have the conversation and let their families know what they want to happen in the event of their death.

“Register your organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and tell your family the choice you have made. If the time comes, we know families find the organ donation conversation much easier if they already know what their relative wanted.”

Find out more and register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register at Users of the NHS app can also use the service to register, check or update their preferences.

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