Organ donation - changes you should be aware of
Samantha Lowthorpe, 29th May, 2020
In view of the current Pandemic you would be forgiven for missing the news that as of 20 May 2020 the law about organ donation changed meaning you now need to opt out for organ donation.
What does this mean?
From 20 May 2020 if you die in a hospital your organs will automatically be donated unless you are in one of the excluded groups or you have made a record of your opt out decision which is recorded on the NHS Organ Donation Register.
What are the excluded groups?
The excluded groups are:-
- Anyone under the age of 18
- People who lack mental capacity to understand the new laws and take the necessary action to opt out
- Visitors to England
- People who have lived in England for less than 12 months
How do I opt out?
In order to opt out you will need to record your decision on the NHS Organ Donation Register which can be found here (https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/helping-you-to-decide/about-your-choices/). There is no time period in which you must opt out by and you can change your mind at any point.
What should I do?
If you wish to opt out you should record your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register. You should inform your friends and family of your organ donation wishes so that your family are aware of what you want to happen to your organs on your death and can discuss these with a specialist nurse/doctor.
How would my funeral plans be affected?
The donation procedure is performed as soon as possible after death. After this has taken place your body would be returned to your family in the usual way so that your funeral wishes can go ahead as planned. It also does not prevent you from having an open-casket funeral if you wish as the operation site would be covered with white surgical dressing and clothing.
What can we do to help?
As well as recording your wishes in a Will regards who should deal with your estate and what should happen to your assets on your death we can also include your wishes for your body in your Will in the same way we would record your funeral wishes. However, as the donation procedure needs to take place as soon as possible after your death it is important to inform your friends and family in case they do not see your Will for some time after your death.
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