The law surrounding organ donation underwent significant change in 2020. The new system is an ‘opt-out’, meaning that if you have not confirmed whether you want to be an organ donor – either by recording a decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register or by speaking to friends and family – the starting point is that you are assumed to have agreed to donate your organs when you die, unless:
- You are under 18 in which case your parents or guardians decide;
- You have ‘opted-out’; or
- You are in an ‘excluded group’ including;
- those that lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action;
- those who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death;
- those who are not living here voluntarily.
Your family will always be involved, and so to ensure that your wishes are respected, the NHS recommends that you should tell them what you would like to do and keep them updated if your views change. It helps the NHS ensure that any decision recorded on the Register is your latest known decision. Your family will be able to tell the NHS about any particular requests to ensure that organ donation goes ahead in line with your faith or beliefs; and also provide important information about your medical, travel and social history to check that your organs can safely be given to someone else.
For further information and to register your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register click here or telephone 0300 123 23 23.