Britain plans for opt-out organ donation scheme to save lives

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Jackie Doyle-Price, Secretary of State for Mental Health and Inequalities, said the changes could save up to 700 lives every year, but she said organ donation remained a gift.

Hundreds of people could be saved every year, according to ministers, by a new law on organ donation.

Those who do not wish to donate can record this on the NHS register either online, by phone or on an app to be released by the end of the year.

While research shows that 82 percent of people in England support organ donation, only 37 percent have indicated so on the register.

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Asked by the news anchor whether it would give doctors licence to take your organs, the medical ethicist said: "Sometimes if there is no known wish a doctor can approach relatives and some relatives decide not to donate". Scotland plans to introduce a similar scheme and Northern Ireland has also expressed an interest.

"We hope that more people will join the great cause to let love continue to live", said Yang Jiayin, Head of the Organ Transplant Centre at Sichuan University's West China Hospital.

The announcement follows a consultation earlier this year, in which the Government sought views from members of the public about organ donation, receiving an unprecedented 17,000 responses.

The donor register will include an option for individuals to state important religious and cultural beliefs, while strict safeguards and specialist nurses will help to make sure that an individual's wishes are respected.

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The legislation was introduced in Parliament last July and is expected to return to the House of Commons in the autumn.

'We need to address myths and misconceptions around donation, and we will only do this by having informed debate and dialogue, which I hope will be fostered by these proposals'.

Around 6,000 people in Britain are on the transplant waiting list and more than 400 patients died while waiting for a transplant previous year, the public health service said.

She added the new system would involve a "soft opt-out", where families could override the presumption in favour of donation if they strongly believed their dead relative would not have wanted it.

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For some faiths, this would mean ensuring no delays in burial, so that any organ donation could only take place within such constraints.