On 20 May 2020, legislation in England came into effect which means that all adults will be considered as potential organ donors when they die, unless their family intervenes or they opt out during their lifetime. This replaces the previous “opt-in” scheme with one of “presumed consent”.
The legislation is nicknamed “Max and Keira’s Law” after Max was the recipient of a heart from Keira who sadly died in a car crash aged just 9. In 2018, more than 400 patients died whilst waiting for an organ donation and it is hoped that this change will increase the number of organs available to those on the waiting list.
A similar law has been in place in Wales since 2015 and has increased the number of much needed organ donors with the consent rate rising from 58% to 75%.
Hopefully the change in the law will have a similar effect in England as it means that instead of having to sign the organ donor register – something which you might think about but never get round to – you don’t have to do anything further. It’s still a good idea to speak to your family about what you would like to happen after you die though as families will still be consulted.