Belfast Telegraph

Organ donation opt-out scheme demanded by charity

A drop in the number of people donating organs highlights the need for an opt-out donation system in Northern Ireland, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has said.

The BHF Northern Ireland wants the soft opt-out system which is being implemented in Wales rolled out across the UK.

It assumes people consent to donate their organs unless they state otherwise.

The call from the BHF comes as figures from the Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report revealed a 5% drop in the number of transplant operations being carried out over the last year.

The foundation noted that eight people in Northern Ireland are currently waiting for a heart transplant.

It said across the UK there are currently 286 patients on the waiting list for a heart transplant, compared with 126 in 2010.

Jayne Murray, head of BHF Northern Ireland, said: "Tragically, these figures show that the number of available organs is outstripped by the number of heart patients waiting for a lifeline.

"For many critically ill heart patients a transplant can offer the best chance of long term survival, but there is a desperate shortage of registered donors.

"That's why BHF Northern Ireland supports the introduction of a 'soft opt-out' system across the UK where it's assumed that someone is happy to donate unless they, or their family, say otherwise.

"From December, Wales will implement the opt-out system and we hope Northern Ireland will follow Wales's trailblazing lead."

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