Max and Keira’s law about opt-out organ donation is just DAYS away

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Max Johnson was saved by a heart transplant


Max and Keira’s law about opt-out organ donation to pass final hurdle in Parliament and is just DAYS away from being set in stone

  • Prime Minister Theresa May announced the plans for England last summer
  • The move presumes organ donation consent unless a person chooses not to 
  • Wales became the first country in the UK to adopt the opt-out system in 2015 

The opt-out organ donation system is just days away from being passed as a law in England, according to campaigners.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced the plans – which presumes organ donation consent unless a person chooses not to – last summer.   

Max and Keira’s Law, named after a boy who received a heart transplant from a girl who donated it, cleared the House of Commons last year.

The landmark move should today pass its final hurdle in Parliament in the House of Lords, paving the way for the Queen to formally agree to the law.

The organ was given to him by nine-year-old Keira Ball following her death in 2017

Max and Keira’s Law, named after a boy who received a heart transplant from a girl who donated it, cleared the House of Commons last year. Max Johnson (left) was saved by a heart transplant – given to him by nine-year-old donor Keira Ball (right) following her death in 2017

Lord Philip Hunt, sponsor of the bill alongside MPs Geoffrey Robinson and Dan Jarvis, told the Mirror it will be ‘the law of the land’ within days.

John Forsythe, medical director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, praised the development.

He told The Mirror: ‘It looks as if the new “Opt Out” legislation in England will become law in the next few days.

‘We very much hope that once this new law comes into force in Spring 2020, we will see similar results to those we have witnessed in Wales.’

Mr Forsythe explained how more people and families have agreed to donation since the law was passed in Wales four years ago.

He added: ‘We will work closely with the Government to ensure that the introduction of the new opt-out approach is implemented successfully.

‘Between now and then we will carry out an information campaign to make sure everyone knows about the change in the law.’ 

Currently, adults in England have to sign-up to a national register if they wish for their organs to be taken after their death. 

Under the new opt-out system, family members are still given a final opportunity to not go ahead with the organ donation.

It is believed the rule only applies to those who are deemed mentally capable of giving consent.

Wales became the first country in the UK to adopt the system in 2015, which was deemed a ‘significant’ and ‘progressive’ change.

Scotland is edging ever closer to passing the same opt out organ donation bill and Northern Ireland is expected to follow suit.

Max Johnson, 11, was saved by a heart transplant – given to him by nine-year-old donor Keira Ball following her death in 2017. 

Max, from Winsford, Cheshire, underwent the life-saving procedure in 2018. His father, Paul, 45, praised the bill.

He said: ‘It’s been a privilege to have been involved in such a noble cause. It is a wonderful legacy for Max and Keira. It will make a difference.’ 

Keira died in a car crash and her organs saved four lives in total. Her 35-year-old father, Joe, of Barnstaple, Devon, also welcomed the news. 

Figures indicate there are more than 5,000 people in the UK currently on the waiting list for an organ transplant.

However, a shortage of organs means that three people die every day while awaiting a transplant.  

WHAT IS THE OPT-OUT ORGAN DONATION SYSTEM?

The decision to adopt an opt-out organ donation system could save hundreds of lives, Prime Minister Theresa May claimed in October.

The move, to be discussed in the House of Commons tomorrow, means patients will automatically signed up to be organ donors when they die, and they have to opt-out if they don’t wish to, if it goes ahead.

English campaigners have long argued for the Government to adopt such a system to increase the number of organs available.

Figures estimate that around 6,500 patients are on the waiting list for an organ that could save their life. Such lists can be as long as five years.

And last year 457 people died in England while waiting for a transplant due to the shortage of organs, NHS data showed.

Mrs May’s plan is the polar opposite of the current system, which requires healthy adults to sign up to donate their kidneys, hearts and livers when they die.

Wales became the first country in the UK to adopt the system in 2015, which was deemed a ‘significant’ and ‘progressive’ change. 

Under the new opt-out system in England, family members are still given a final opportunity to not go ahead with the organ donation.

It is believed the rule only applies to those who are deemed mentally capable of giving consent. 





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