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Extended consultation period could lead to more deaths, warns Dobson

By Rebecca Black

It was announced by Health Minister Edwin Poots on Tuesday that more public consultation was needed on a proposal that people should have to opt out of donating their organs after their death.

The move sparked fury from Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson, who tabled the proposal in a Private Member's Bill in 2012.

She warned that 15 people could die during the 12 months of further consultation that Mr Poots was proposing.

A total of 123 transplants took place in 2012/13 in Northern Ireland, and 190 people were on the transplant waiting list as of March 2013.

Ms Dobson's Bill would see the law changed so that if people do not want to donate organs after death they must opt out of it.

However, relatives of anyone who dies will always be asked permission before any organs are harvested. Mr Poots said he still needed more evidence, describing it as a "very emotive" subject.

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph reported that a retired nurse who donated one of her kidneys to a stranger said she felt let down by Mr Poots' announcement of further consultation on the opt-out law.

Presumed consent for organ donations already exists in Spain and starts next year in Wales after a two-year information campaign.

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