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New organ donation law - what it means for you

New organ donation law - what it means for you

The law concerning organ donation in England changed on 20 May 2020, creating a new system that will save many lives in the future.

NHS organ donation - what has changed?

Previously, medical professionals could only consider you as a potential organ donor if you had signed up to the NHS Organ Donation Register. However, The Organ Donation Act (which was enacted on 20 May 2020) has created a new ‘opt-out’ system, meaning that adults in England will be considered as a potential organ donor, unless you chose to opt-out or are in one of the excluded groups.

You can read more about the changes on the NHS organ donation website.

Max and Kiera’s Law

The Organ Donation Act is also referred to as ‘Max and Kiera’s Law’. Kiera sadly passed away aged nine after being involved in a road traffic accident in 2017, and through her donation, she was able to save four people – her heart was given to nine-year-old boy called Max.

Max, his family and Kiera’s family campaigned for the opt-out system, which was given royal assent on 15 March 2019.

How do I opt out of organ donation?

NHS Organ Donor Register

If you do not wish to donate your organs, you must register your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

You do not need to record a decision to ‘opt-out’ if you are in the following ‘excluded group’. The changes to the law will not apply for those that:

  • are under the age of 18;
  • lack the mental capacity to understand the change for a significant period before their death; or
  • have not lived in England for at least 12 months before their death, or not living in England voluntarily.

Medical professionals will still consult with your family members and loved ones and your culture, faith and beliefs will be respected.

It is therefore important that you record your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register, and also tell your family and loved ones what you have decided.

Your will or lasting power of attorney

You can also record your opt-out decision around organ donation. in a lasting power of attorney for health and welfare or a living will.

As with recording your decision on the Organ Donor Register, It is also important to inform your loved ones of that decision (and to show them a copy of what you've included in your lasting power of attorney or living will), so they're fully aware of your wishes in advance. 

Contact us

If you’d like to review an existing lasting power of attorney, or a living will, or would like to discuss putting one in place to record your decision on organ donation, then our private client team can help.

Our team of experts will guide you through the process and support you with formally recording your end of life care wishes.

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