Tuesday 13 February 2018
The Committee for Health & Social Care has launched a public consultation on proposals to introduce a soft opt-out organ donation scheme locally.
Currently, Guernsey has an "opt-in" system for organ donation. This means that people who would like to donate in the event of their death need to make their wishes clear. This can be by telling family or friends, giving their consent through their driving licence, or joining the NHS Organ Donor Register. However, there are many people who, although they do believe in organ donation, have not joined the Organ Donor Register. Without making this express decision, it is more difficult for doctors to establish a patient's wishes and more difficult for friends and family to honour them.
The Committee wishes to reflect changes made in Wales, which have resulted in an increase in donations, and move towards a deemed consent or, soft opt-out, system. This will assume that all islanders wish to donate their organs if possible when they die unless they have requested to be removed from the register, either totally, or with respect to particular organs. Central to the system will be ensuring that sensitive processes are in place both to enable all islanders to have opportunity to record their decision clearly and for families to be consulted before any organs are taken.
Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care says
'Organ donation is one of the most incredible achievements of modern medicine. The generosity of donors, and their families, transforms and saves lives. They can mean no longer needing to be dependent on treatments, being able to see again, or to experience life free from pain.
The gift of an organ is very precious. Less than one percent of people die in circumstances where they are able to donate their organs. This is one reason why there is a waiting list for those needing a transplant. There are currently over 6000 people waiting for an organ across the British Isles, many of whom will die waiting.
I recognise that organ donation is an immensely sensitive and personal matter, and a decision that no one wants to make on behalf of a family member. The Committee believes our proposals provide the appropriate balance of recognising the importance of organ donation, and supporting islanders and their families in making informed decisions.'
The consultation, which can be accessed using this link, https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/organdonationgsy is open until 23rd March 2018. Subject to the consultation's outcome, proposals will be put to the States later this year.