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RCN asks nurses for views on move to opt-out model for organ donation

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The RCN has begun consulting its members on whether the UK’s system for organ donation should change to a presumed consent, or opt-out, model to keep up with demand.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘This is an important and sensitive issue for the public and for our members, many of whom deal directly with all aspects of organ donation.’

The consultation will address proposals to switch to a system of presumed consent, rather than the current opt-in model, and other issues relating to organ donation.

Mr Carter said: ‘We need to make sure that their voice is heard in this debate, and I would urge members to participate either as individuals or through their branches.’

A government advisory committee recommended against the introduction of presumed consent in November but ministers have not ruled out a move to the system. The presumed consent model is backed by the British Medical Association.

The consultation runs until Friday 6 March. RCN members can register their views by visiting a special page on the college website.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I think an Opt out procedure is a fantastic idea and would assist people in need greatly.

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  • No, even the idea of this is absolutely abhorent and wrong. You can NEVER have presumed consent, to do so goes against what we do as Nurses.
    You say that people can opt out. Fine, or at least it will be fine to those that remember, or get round to it, or know how/where to go. What about those who want to opt out but don't quite get round to it before they get hit by a bus/train/falling pigeon? What about the elderly who forget or don't realise they need to opt out? What about those who ... you get the point. There will be a lot of people out there who dont want to be harvested but for what ever reason do not get round to it. Just like there are many people now who think it is a good idea but dont get round to signing up.
    What is going to happen if this became law and people didn't opt out. When the vultures turn up just after someone has died wanting to claim the body but the family disagree because they knew the deceased's wishes? Arguments? More upset? Law suits?
    What if something happens to you and noone has next of kin details, and your organs are harvested before next of kin are contacted because your body is now the property of the state? Will your family understand when they arrive to find they have no body to mourn?
    These are just basic examples off the top of my head. This has the potential to go very, very wrong, very very quickly.

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