Commenting on Tuesday 17 July 2007 on the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson's, call for organ donation in England and Wales to move towards an opt-out system1, Dr Tony Calland, Chairman of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee, said:

"The BMA fully supports an opt-out system for organ donation. At least one person dies every day while waiting for an organ transplant. We must increase the number of donors available and the BMA believes that a system of presumed consent with safeguards, will help to achieve this. Before any change to the current system, it is essential that a public information campaign is launched so that people are completely aware of the choices they can make about organ donation."

The BMA believes that moving to a system of presumed consent, where it is assumed that people are willing to donate their organs after death unless they opt out, combined with other reforms to the transplant infrastructure, would play an important part in improving the organ donation system so that more lives can be saved.

1 This means adults who do not wish to donate their organs after their death would have to make their feelings known during their lifetime, i.e. consent would be presumed. Safeguards would be in place for people who do not wish to donate their organs or whose family would be seriously distressed if donation were to proceed.

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