May 20, 2024

British PM backs opt-out organ donation

Wants a more compassionate Britain

An opt-out system for organ donation has been strongly backed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In an op-ed in the London Telegraph, he says that he wants to launch a debate about the best way to make organs available in a “more compassionate Britain”. He favours a system like Spain’s which presumes the consent of the donor while leaving the final decision with his or her family. “A system of this kind seems to have the potential to close the aching gap between the potential benefits of transplant surgery and the limits imposed by our current [opt-in] system of consent,” he says.

Mr Brown argues that 90% of Britons are in favour of organ donations, but only 24% are on the organ donor register. Actual donors in the UK are about 13 per million, compared to 22 per million in France, 25 per million in the US and 35 per million in Spain.

However, many Britons are sceptical about the benefits of more government intervention to improve their lives. “What the Prime Minister now proposes is effectively the nationalisation of the body — with a new ‘right’ to opt out of the otherwise automatic procedure that your corpse will be stripped of organs for recycling,” writes Matthew D’Ancona in the Spectator. “The idea that a Government that loses 25 million names and bank account details should take anything for granted about the fate of our bodies is pretty chilling.” ~ London Telegraph, Jan 14; Spectator, Jan 13