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Medicopolitical Digest

Medicopolitical digestBMA starts debate on presumed organ donationDefence medicine in UK given a boostMoving nearer to PCGsJDC sets priorities for next session

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 09 January 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:131

BMA starts debate on presumed organ donation

The BMA wants to start a debate which could lead to a change in legislation to permit presumed consent to organ donation. The association's medical ethics committee supports a change provided that there were safeguards to ensure that people were given a real opportunity to choose or refuse to donate. The issue is likely to be debated at the BMA's 1999annual meeting. The committee emphasises that there would need to be high profile publicity and public education. A policy of presumed consent would allow doctors to remove the organs of patients who died in hospital unless they had opted out. At present people must opt in by putting their names on the National Donor Register or signing a donor card. The chairman of the ethics committee, Dr Michael Wilkes, said that it would be wrong to assume that a change in the law would entirely close the gap between the organs needed and those available, “but we think it would improve the situation to some degree.” A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said, “At the moment what we want is more …

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