Proposals approved to publish the draft legislation for an opt-out organ donation system in Ireland
The Cabinet in Ireland has approved proposals by Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to publish the general scheme of the Human Tissues Bill which includes details of a 'soft' opt-out system of organ donation, similar to the opt-out system already operating in Wales.
This is welcome news, and follows proposals in England and Scotland to introduce opt-out systems. Northern Ireland is debating the possibility of changing organ donation legislation but no change to legislation has yet been agreed or implemented.
What is an opt-out organ donation system?
An ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation means that people are assumed to agree to donate their organs after death unless they have already chosen to opt-out.
A 'soft' opt-out system means that the wishes of families and next of kin would continue to be respected, so removal of organs would not go ahead without their support.