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England to consider optout organ donation

A consultation on introducing an optout system for organ donation is to be held in England, ministers say.

Currently anyone who wants to donate their organs after death has to "opt in" through the donor card scheme.

But a new system, whereby it will be presumed an adult's body can be used in transplants in the absence of express permission, will now be considered.

Wales has already introduced an optout system, while Scotland has said it will be following suit.

The Welsh system - introduced in 2015 - is known as a soft optout, so if the individual's family objects, the removal of their organs does not take place.

In June, Scotland said it would be introducing a similar system, known as presumed consent.

It came after a government consultation found 82% of people were in favour.

There are currently 6,500 people on the transplant list but an average of three people a day die because they do not get one.

The Department of Health confirmed there would be a 12-week consultation later this year after the policy was mentioned by Prime Minister Theresa May in her speech to the Conservative Party conference.

Mrs May said: "Our ability to help people who need transplants is limited by the number of organ donors that come forward.

"So to address this challenge that affects all communities in our country, we will change that system - shifting the balance of presumption in favour of organ donation."

Sally Johnson, of NHS Blood and Transplant, which co-ordinates the organ donor scheme, said she hoped the consultation would "drive a national conversation about organ donation".

Fiona Loud, policy director at Kidney Care UK, added: "This is a truly momentous day."

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