Hertfordshire residents advised of new Organ Donation Act planned for May

At the end of February there were 470,146 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register in Hertfordshire

The government has announced that, subject to parliamentary approval, the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act, will come into effect on Wednesday, May 20.

NHS Organ Donor Card

NHS Organ Donor Card

When the law changes, all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die, unless they record a decision not to donate (opt out) or are in one of the excluded groups.

Those excluded will be people under 18, those who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action; and people who have lived in England for less than 12 months or who are not living here voluntarily.

Even after the law changes, families will still be involved before any organ or tissue donation goes ahead and NHS Blood and Transplant Specialist Nurses will continue to speak with them.

Only organs and tissue used for routine transplants, will be included under the new system.

According to NHS Blood and Transplant, at the end of February, in Hertfordshire there were 470,146 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register and 93 people on the active transplant list.

In 2018/19 19, there were 37 deceased donors, and 62 deceased donor transplants.

Anthony Clarkson, director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We hope that the new law encourages more people to record their donation decision and talk about organ donation with their families.

"It is important for people to know that they can do this at any time before or after the law comes into effect, there is no deadline for making your donation decision.

“We are encouraged that almost two thirds of people in England are now aware that the law is changing, but we would like this figure to be even higher by the time the law changes.

“The majority of people tell us that they support organ donation in principle, yet only around 4 in 10 have actually registered their decision.

“For those who have not thought about organ donation before, or who still have questions, we have lots of information available on our website and our team of helpline advisors are available to answer any queries.

“Organ donation is and always will be a precious gift and if more people are inspired to support and agree to donation, then many more lives can be saved.”

The latest NHS Blood and Transplant awareness survey, carried out in January 2020, showed that 62 per cent of the population aged 16 or over in England are aware that the law around organ donation will be changing.

This has risen from the 46 per cent recorded prior to the launch of the law change awareness campaign, ‘Pass it on’, in April 2019.

The Organ Donation act, also known as Max and Keira's Law, was named after heart recipient Max Johnson, who championed the law, and his young donor, Keira Ball.

Twelve-year-old Max said: “I am very excited that we now know when the law change in England will actually happen.

"There are so many people who are waiting, just like I was, for the call to say that a suitable heart, kidney, lungs or liver has been found.

"I just hope that this law change can help save more lives. When you are waiting for a transplant, every day counts and I hope that everyone who hears about the law change will be reminded to speak to their family, so they know what you want.

“I am proud that when people speak about Max and Keira’s Law, they will be reminded to think of Keira, and I hope by remembering her in this way, that she will go on to help save even more lives than she already has.”

> For more information, or to register your decision to opt in or opt out, visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk.