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More people back easing of organ donation rules

Published 03/09/2015

Simon Hamilton pledged to
Simon Hamilton pledged to "carefully consider" the future of the system

The proportion of people who want to make organ donation easier has increased to 61% in Northern Ireland.

Every year around 15 people die waiting for a transplant.

Health Minister Simon Hamilton pledged to "carefully consider" the future of the system. Wales is to trial "soft opt-outs" later this year, where it is presumed that a person has consented to donation unless they have registered their objection.

Mr Hamilton said: "This would require legislation in the Assembly which would be a very significant change and not one that should be taken without having first examined the best available information on the likely impact of such legislation.

"I therefore want to carefully watch how the new 'soft' opt-out system being introduced in Wales from this December affects their organ donation consent rates from next year onwards.

"Wales has a similar NHS system to Northern Ireland and I expect that we will be able to learn from their experience and use it to carefully consider the future for organ donation in Northern Ireland along with the views of local transplant clinicians and other stakeholders."

While there has been a slight increase (5%) in numbers in favour of presumed consent since 2013, a significant number of others remained unsure or opposed the change.

Obtaining consent for organ donation from family or friends is still one of the biggest challenges in increasing the number of organs available for transplant, the Public Health Agency's evaluation showed.

Northern Ireland has amongst the best live donor rates in Europe. Becoming a donor can save the lives of up to seven people.

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