The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill is received Royal Assent on 15th March, which means the bill is now an act of parliament. Named after a boy who received a heart transplant and the girl who donated it, the new Organ Donation Act will, without a shadow of a doubt, save hundreds of lives.
There are currently more than 6,000 people waiting for an organ in the UK with three people dying each day while waiting to receive an organ. The new law will certainly increase the number of organ donors and therefore reduce the number of people waiting to receive an organ and the time they spend waiting. According to the UK Government, 80% of people in England support organ donation but only 38% have opted in.
With everyone being considered a donor (this is unless they are excluded or opt out), this will also include individuals that weren’t a donor before, not because they made the conscious decision not to be one – which in my opinion needs no explanation – but simply because they forgot to sign up. And I know from own experience that life sometimes takes over and if you’re lucky you don’t have to think about death each day.
I will admit that I myself never actively took steps towards being a donor (even though if asked I would have always known this is what I wanted – but this topic doesn’t exactly come up at dinner time does it?). I think most people, like myself, will sign up to being a donor when they are confronted with the consequences of not doing so in a personal way. I only signed up to the DKMS last year, being 26 years old at that point, the only reason I didn’t do so earlier in all honesty was convenience, because unless it affects you, the importance of it seems only hypothetical and not real.
But I also see how this change in law makes it more important than ever for everyone to speak and think about this topic – especially with the ones closest to you. Families are often left with a difficult decision when a loved one dies and especially with this new law it is imperative to make sure they are aware of your wishes and decision, whatever this may be. Therefore, it is important to raise a lot more awareness for the new law than what has happened already.
It is a significant change in law, cutting deep into the personal lives of everyone involved so it is important to make sure that as many people as possible are reached and made aware about this.