'Presumed Consent Is Not Informed - in Fact, It Is No Consent at All'

Article excerpt

NURSES could be set to reject attempts to change the law to introduce an opt-out system for organ donation.

The Royal College of Nursing will debate a motion opposing presumed consent at its annual congress next week.

It comes as opposition to suggestions that the law should be changed, in a bid to increase the number of organs for transplantation, is growing.

And other objectors will tell the National Assembly inquiry into presumed consent tomorrow why Wales and the UK should not press for a change in the law.

If the RCN opposes an opt-out system, it will be a major blow to campaigners in favour of the continental approach to organ donation.

Many believe that an opt out system - it would be assumed that everyone is an organ donor unless they had registered their objections during their lifetime - is one of the solutions to the current organ donor crisis.

Last year, 16 people from Wales died while waiting for an organ transplant - there are currently 474 people in Wales on the waiting list.

Nurses will debate a motion which urges the RCN to oppose any attempt to make consent to organ donation presumed, at congress on Monday.

Background notes prepared for the debate state: "It has been suggested an opt-out system, where it is assumed individuals are willing to donate their organs after death unless they have stated otherwise, would be fairer and would increase the numbers of organs available for transplantation.

"However, calls for a change in the law to allow for an opt-out system of organ donation have been criticised for failing to acknowledge the importance of individual autonomy and informed consent to the organ donation process."

An unnamed nurse, posting a comment on the National Assembly's forumon organ donation, wrote: "Asanurse I think it should be the individual's choice, that consent should not be assumed, and should still be in writing. …