A public consultation on the introduction of a statutory opt-out system for organ donation in Northern Ireland is now live.
Launched by the Health Minister Robin Swann on Organ Donation Discussion Day (11 December) everyone is urged to have the conversation about donation with their families and friends and let your loved ones know how you feel about this important issue, as well as making a response to the consultation to inform the proposed change in legislation.
The purpose of the consultation is to seek the public’s views on how to introduce a soft opt-out organ donation system for Northern Ireland. This would require new legislation to change the current system here, in which people can choose to ‘opt in’ to the Organ Donor Register (ODR), to a system in which they can choose to ‘opt out’.
Whilst over 80% of the population supports organ donation, only 48% have recorded this decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register. One donor has the potential to save up to 9 lives, and in 2019/20 in Northern Ireland there were 51 deceased donors and 89 life-saving and life transforming transplants from deceased donors for Northern Ireland residents. However there are still 115 people in Northern Ireland on the waiting list and last year 11 people in Northern Ireland died while awaiting an organ transplant.
Everyone is encouraged to read about the consultation and submit a response at www.health-ni.gov.uk/consultations/organ-donation.
The consultation will run for 10 weeks, closing on 19 February 2021.
More information on organ donation and to sign the Organ Donor Register can be found at www.organdonationni.info.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be holding face to face stakeholder events; however, a series of virtual events will be taking place. Details will be published in due course at https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/consultations/organ-donation and publicised on the Department of Health and Public Health Agency’s social media channels.