Donation of organs – a question we are now asked!
A new law relating to donation of organs was brought into being in England on the 20th May 2020. It’s called “Max and Keira’s Law” after Keira Ball, who died aged nine in 2017 and Max Johnson whose life was saved when he received her heart. The new law is intended to reduce the uncertainty around organ donation and save and improve more lives. Everday someone dies in the UK waiting for a transplant. One organ donor can save or transform the lives of up to nine people. Tissue transplants can also significantly improve a person’s quality of life. This might be a cornea to help someone see again, a replacement heart valve to treat a heart defect, or skin to treat severe burns.
All adults in England will be presumed to be organ donors unless they specifically opt out from donating their organs or are members of the “excluded group”. These are people under the age of 18, or people who do not have sufficient mental capacity to understand the new law, visitors to England and people who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death.
If you do not wish to donate your organs on your death then you should specifically opt out by recording your wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register, where this gives you the ability to record which organs (if any or none) you wish to donate.
It is always a good idea to talk to your close family or person nominated to be your next of kin regarding your wishes on this subject as even with the new law in place, these people will always be consulted before any organ donation takes place.
You may wish to include any wishes that you may have in your Will or in a letter of wishes, which whilst not binding, will provide an insight into your thoughts on the subject.
You can nominate up to two representatives to make a decision on your behalf if you do not wish to do so. They will need to sign the online “nominate a representative” form.
You can obtain more information by visiting https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk