Sunday 18 March 2018

Ireland to join other EU countries in enforcing 'opt-out' organ donation system

Organ donor card
Organ donor card
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Health Minister Simon Harris has proposed a new bill to establish an "opt-out" organ donation system in Ireland.

The Human Tissue Bill will put in place a system of “presumed consent” for organ donation to replace the current system that requires people to opt in if they wish to make their organs available for transplantation following their death.

Speaking at the opening of a new headquarters of the HSE Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI) office on Temple Street, Mr Harris said the bill will be brought before the Government soon.

In 2016, 280 transplants were carried out, is the second highest annual performance achieved to date.

Mr Harris said that Beaumont Hospital saw a remarkable increase in living donor transplants from 33 in 2015 to a record 50 last year.  

'I want to emphasise that I have prioritised the development of legislation to provide for an opt-out system of consent for organ donation, and my Department is currently working on this in the context of work required to develop an over-arching human tissue policy and legislative framework. I intend to bring a memo to Government shortly setting out this policy direction and it is my intention to launch a public consultation on the development of the proposals before the end of the summer," Mr Harris said.

According to the World Health Organisation, opt-out laws have long been among the major interventions used to increase the pool of potential donors in countries such as Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

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