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