The Committee for Health & Social Care have recently consulted on proposals to introduce a soft opt-out organ donation scheme.
Currently, Guernsey has an "opt-in" system for organ donation. This means that people who wish to donate in the event of their death need to make their wishes clear. This can be by telling family or friends, giving their consent through their driving licence, or joining the NHS Organ Donor Register . However, there are many people who, although they do believe in organ donation, have not joined the Organ Donor Register. Without making this express decision, it is more difficult for doctors to establish a patient's wishes and more difficult for friends and family to honour them.
The consultation on proposals to introduce a soft opt-out system of organ donation closed on 23 March. We received 688 responses. There was overwhelming support from the consultation exercise for a soft opt-out system of organ donation.
In summary 80% of the 688 respondents were in favour of the Committee's proposals. Respondents recognised the need for some groups to be excluded from the proposals and a majority of respondents did not believe that families should be able to decide if organ donation takes place if this decision is different to that made by the individual when they were alive.
The Committee specifically consulted the Youth Forum, 100% of Forum Members present voted in favour of moving to a soft opt-out model, with 88% of their Members indicating that such a change would make them want to become an organ donor after their death. The Forum felt that there were circumstances where someone's family should make the final decision and suggested the development of a list of circumstances where this would be appropriate. Their membership gave a series of suggestions in relation to how best to communicate any future changes to young people and suggested the inclusion of a session on organ donation within the PHSE curriculum in order that young people can make an informed decision.
The Committee have now put together a policy letter to the States of Deliberation highlighting proposals for a 'Soft Opt Out Scheme'. A copy of the policy letter can be found by following this link: Organ Donation - Introduction of a 'Soft' Opt Out Scheme
Should you require any further information, please contact us by emailing Nikejshia.Moon@gov.gg or call 01481 725241 (ext: 634 4290)
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Updated: October 2018