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Taskforce rejects system of presumed consent for organ donation in UK

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 19 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2621
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

    The government is to launch a major publicity campaign on the importance of organ donation, with the aim of getting many more people in the United Kingdom to join the organ donor register.

    A report from the Organ Donation Taskforce has rejected introducing a system of presumed consent to increase the number of organ donations, saying that there is insufficient evidence that such an opt-out system would increase numbers of donations and that it risked breaking the trust between patients and doctors that is essential in an effective transplantation service.

    The government, which has accepted recommendations from the taskforce in full, has opted instead to put £4.5m (€5.3m; $6.7m) into a campaign that it hopes will see the number of people on the register rise from the more than 15 million currently to 20 million by 2010 and 25 million by 2013.

    Work is already under way to implement recommendations made in the taskforce’s first report, published in January (BMJ 2008;336:111; doi:10.1136/bmj.39462.489132.DB). These recommendations include recruiting 63 new donor transplant coordinators, reimbursing trusts for managing organ donations, and establishing a UK-wide network of dedicated organ retrieval teams (BMJ January 19 2008;336:111).

    However, if …

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