In a statement on Twitter, Jeremy Hunt pointed out three Britons a day die due to a lack of willing donors, and claimed the Government's new policy would not override the will of family members who do not want their loved-ones organs donated.
3 people die every day waiting for a transplant but it could be different — read this inspiring story about 3 year old Georgia Fieldsend who has saved 6 lives after her tragic death 4 years ago https://t.co/w3mrm0toLn …— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) December 12, 2017
Key stat is that 80% of us say we would be prepared to donate organs but only 36% on donor register — that's what we have to change https://t.co/EyNi8MiGcH— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) December 12, 2017
The policy change seeks to add the United Kingdom to the list of countries experimenting with such a system, or with alternative methods.
The South American country used to operate according to the "presumed consent" system just announced in the UK, starting in 1997 — but the program was scrapped the following year due to high levels of public distrust in the health system.
The Iranian Government has undertaken a unique and internationally somewhat controversial system of commercial organ donation which was legalized in 1988. The ability of patients to pay a donor has eliminated waiting times for kidney transplants, the most commonly transplanted organ globally, with the government matching patients and potential donors as well as providing health insurance for both and covering all hospital costs. The commercial nature of the transaction has however seen the system criticized as encouraging organ harvesting and the rates of transplant success are hard to assess.
Spaniards are the most prolific organ donors in the world and also operates a presumed consent regime for organ donation. Final approval for a transplant must come from the family of the deceased however, who only have to refuse in order to prevent the procedure going ahead.
The American health system suffers from a chronic shortage of organ donors, with around 120,000 people, over-50s, currently on waiting lists to receive the life-saving surgery. According to the US Health Department, 20 Americans die every day waiting to receive an organ donation.