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Brown Wants Presumed Consent Organ Donation in Britain by Year's End

LONDON, January 14, 2008 ( - Gordon Brown's Labour government is contemplating a move to force Britons to become organ donors unless they have specifically opted out. Prime Minister Brown wrote this weekend in an op ed in the Daily Telegraph that he wants to "start a debate" on the so-called "presumed consent" concept that Brown said would "close the aching gap between the potential benefits of transplant surgery and the limits imposed by our current system of consent".

Brown's "different consent system" would mean consent for organ donation after death would be automatically presumed, unless individuals had opted out of the national register, or family members objected.

But even before such a debate is started, new recommendations from a government task force would increase pressure on health care workers to identify more "potential organ donor" patients. Pressure will be placed on patients to donate as hospitals will be rated for the number of deceased patients they "convert" into donors. The taskforce will publish this summer a report on "presumed consent", which is supported by the British Medical Association.

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