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UK makes organ donation default, we should follow suit

With organ donation now the automatic choice in the UK, I suggest that we apply the same legislation here, as our statistics are no-less galling.



Last Friday, the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill became a reality in Britain. The act in question will make everyone an organ donor by default, unless they choose to opt-out.

Also known as Max and Keira’s law, the bill is named in honour of a boy who was in need of a heart transplant and the girl who donated it. More than 6,000 people are currently on the wait list in the UK alone, and three die every day.

While 80% of the population in England support organ donation, only 38% have opted in, causing families to face a difficult decision when a loved one dies. Less than 50% of families opt their deceased loved ones into organ donation if they are unaware of their wishes.

“I’m delighted Max and Keira’s law has passed today,” Prime Minister Theresa May said after the law passed. “It marks a momentous step for thousands of people in need of a life-saving transplant, and could save as many as 700 lives a year.”

Should we consider a similar move here? The figures are similarly galling. According to The Organ Donation and transplant foundation of WA, around 1600 people are on Australian organ transplant waiting lists. On average, people on the transplant list can wait between six months and four years. As it stands, each person has a ten times greater chance of requiring an organ transplant than of becoming an organ donor.

While 90% of the Australian population support organ donation in principle, less than half have registered a willingness to do so on the National Organ Donor Registry.