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Organs and tissues to be excluded from the new system of organ and tissue donation in England (known as “opt-out” or “deemed consent”)

Published: 20th August 2019

The government recently passed a law to change the rules for organ donation in England from 2020. The law introduced a system commonly called "opt-out" or "deemed consent".

When the law was passing through Parliament, the government agreed that the law would only apply to routine transplants, and not novel or rare transplants.

The government proposes that novel or rare transplants will still require express consent. This consultation asks if the government is excluding the right organs and tissues and invites answers to five questions. CMF takes the view that any organ taken without consent is effectively 'confiscated', not donated (see our submission to the DoH consultation on 'opting out' - ).

Therefore, legislation that will reduce the impact of the change to 'opt out' is welcomed by CMF.

Question 1: Do you believe that the regulations as drafted are clear and comprehensive?

Yes - I understand

Question 2: Do you agree with the Government's proposed list of excluded transplants

Yes - all organs and tissues on the list proposed

Question 3: Tissues to be excluded if they are part of a novel and/or rare transplant ("excluded relevant material")

All of the tissues listed should be excluded from opt-out and express consent should be required for their transplant

Question 4: Specific tissues to exclude if they are for use in an Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP)

All of the listed tissues should be excluded from opt-out and express consent be required for their use as transplanted material in an ADMP

Question 5: Any other comments on the regulations not covered in these questions

The Christian Medical Fellowship takes the view that 'deemed' consent is not equivalent to consent. Organs taken without consent are not donated but confiscated. This position was explained in our submission to the UK Government Department of Health Consultation on introducing 'opt-out' consent for organ and tissue donation in England.

We welcome, therefore, any legislation that will reduce the impact, even marginally, of the change to 'opt-out' in 2020.

Can you confirm that donated unusual/novel organs or tissues will be used only for transplantation purposes, not for research experiments?

In the event that donated organs or tissues on the 'excluded' list are removed for transplantation but are then found to be unsuitable for some reason, what will happen to them? Will they be returned to the family for burial or cremation along with the remains of the corpse? If not, what will be done with them? Clearly, to use them for purposes other than those for which they were donated would be unethical.

For further information:

Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668

Media Enquiries:

Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225

About CMF:

Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.

CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.

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