David Mathers, on behalf of the RCN’s Exeter branch, proposed a motion at the 2008 RCN Congress in Bournemouth, calling for the government to rethink proposals to have an opt-out system that assumes people wish to donate their organs after their death unless otherwise stated.
Mr Mathers said: ‘The decision as to whether we donate organs is deeply private.’
He also stated that language barriers may prevent relatives of patients who do not speak English being able to understand that their loved ones’ organs could be donated.
‘How can we be certain of equality when we give people the information,’ he said.
But Dominic Walsh, of the RCN’s critical care forum, called on delegates to oppose the motion.
From personal experience, Mr Walsh said he favoured a system of presumed consent because it allowed relatives to have more options in the event of a loved one suffering brain stem death. He said: ‘It will allow them to feel that they had a good death.’
The motion was defeated following a show of hands because of technical problems with electronic voting equipment.