Oireachtas Committee on Health to discuss soft opt-out system of donation when Dáil resumes
As Organ Donation Awareness Week 2013 draws to a close tomorrow people should give serious consideration to carrying a donor card or to uploading an Organ Donor ECard to their iPhone or android.
Organ donation quite simply saves lives. Despite the fact that we have a generous culture of donation here in Ireland, it is reported that organ donation last year was down 17% on the year before. This puts those who are waiting for organs in a much more precarious position and makes life for organisations such as the Irish Heart Association and the Irish Heart Foundation more difficult.
Often it is the case that people have good intentions when it comes to organ donation but never actually get around to getting a card, filling it out and carrying it in their wallet. With this in mind, the Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children will be giving consideration, over the course of two weeks, to bringing in a soft opt-out system of organ donation, where it would be presumed that everyone would consent to donation, unless they had express wishes to the contrary. If this change was made, it must be remembered that in all cases a person’s family would be given the final say.
Being a donor has never been easier, with an Organ Donor ECard app now available to download for those to smartphones such as iPhones or androids. The Programme for Government commits to the introduction of an opt-out system to help increase donation and I look forward to the debate beginning on the future of organ donation in Ireland once the Dáil reconvenes next week.
Countries who have changed to a soft opt-out system have seen the rates of donation go through the roof, with Belgium registering a 100% increase and Singapore a 700% increase. It is up to us to make donation the norm rather than the exception and by changing to an opt-out system we can do that. In the meantime, I implore all those who do not carry a donor card, in some form, to do so in the interest of saving the lives of others after they are gone.