The National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA) welcomes the Prime Minister's announcement of a public consultation on increasing rates of organ donation. The proposals will include a new opt-out system for organ donation for England.
While rates of organ donations are rising, there are still more people waiting for transplants than there are organs available. Every day up to 3 people die while waiting for an organ to become available, according to the Dept. of Health. There are particularly long waiting times for those in black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. In the previous year, just over 6% of deceased donors were from black and Asian communities, with people waiting on average 6 months longer for a kidney transplant than a white patient.
Under the current system, anyone wishing to donate their organs has to opt in via the registration and organ donor card scheme run by NHS Blood and Transplant. A family member can also agree to the donation of organs if the person had not made their wishes known.
The consultation will outline ways to increase rates of organ donation and propose a new approach where every person would be deemed to have given consent unless they choose to opt out. The Welsh Government introduced this opt-out system in December 2015 and Scotland is also looking to introduce a 'soft-opt out' system.
Orin Lewis, Co-Chair of NBTA said: "This is very welcome news. NBTA has been working to raise the number of donors for several years now. Black, Asian, mixed-race and minority ethnic communities have some of the highest levels of need, but some of the lowest rates of donations. We see people who are waiting for years, whose quality of life would be transformed by a transplant."