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Saturday, July 3, 1999 Published at 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK


Health

Opposition to changing organ donor scheme

Donor card system is popular with the public

The majority of the public is opposed to an opt-out system of organ donation, according to a government survey.

The research showed that only 28% of people were in favour of an opt-out system under which those people who did not want their organs to be used after death would have to register their objection.

In contrast, 50% of those surveyed were in favour of the current opt-in system of organ donor cards and computerised organ donor registers.

Amongst those that have a donor card, or who are already on the register, 47% were in favour of the current system and 41% in favour of opt-out.

Almost 70% were willing to donate their organs under the current system with 14% against.

And 50% were in favour of donating their organs under an opt-out system, with 32% against.

Doctors to debate the issue


[ image: Dr Wilks: BMA will re-consider its position]
Dr Wilks: BMA will re-consider its position
Dr Michael Wilks, chairman of the British Medical Association's medical ethics committee said the issue of organ donation would be debated at the annual conference in Belfast next week.

He said: "Current BMA policy is to support the opt-in donor card system.

"Our medical ethics committee believes there is a case for changing to a system of presumed consent but it will be for the conference to decide.

"This snapshot of public opinion is a useful addition to the debate because clearly, if any change in the current system is proposed, it would need very full public debate and the development of a consensus for change.

"There is a severe shortage of organs for transplant and it is vital that public support for organ donation remains high, whatever system is used."





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