I received a number of emails from constituents ahead of the second reading of Geoffrey Robinson MP's Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill, which took place in the Commons on Friday 23rd February.
I agree that more needs to be done to ensure that as many people as possible in the UK receive the transplant they require and I therefore fully support the move for an opt-out system in England. Transplants save and improve quality of life and currently there are around 6,500 people waiting for an organ transplant across the UK.
An opt-out system has already been introduced in Wales and the Scottish Government has also announced its intention bring forward similar legislation following a public consultation in which 82% of respondents supported the move.
In December last year, the Department of Health and Social Care launched a consultation on its proposals to change the legal default on consent for organ and tissue donation to opt-out. I am pleased that the Government is allowing anyone with a view to take part in the consultation, which will run until 6 March 2018.
More widely, I believe that medical and healthcare professionals must be involved in the process of designing any changes to the system. It is also important that the Government works closely with community groups to ensure that cultural and religious views are considered before any change is introduced.
I am pleased to report that the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill passed its second reading and will now proceed to committee stage.