Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA, has welcomed the announcement from the UK Government that a new opt-out system for organ donation will be in place across England by 2020. He has warned however that unless it is also extended here, Northern Ireland will soon be the only part of the United Kingdom without an opt-out system.
Roy Beggs said:
“Organ donation is one of the most selfless acts of kindness one person can do for another. Whilst it continues to have strong public support, unfortunately there remains a shortfall between the number of donors and the actual number of organs needed each year.
“Tragically that means people are continuing to pass away each and every year in Northern Ireland whilst waiting for a transplant.
“The decision by the UK Government to introduce an opt-out system in England is therefore very welcome and I am sure it will save hundreds of lives every year. It follows similar decisions already taken in Scotland and Wales.
“Sadly however, in the ongoing absence of an Executive at Stormont, and after a previous attempt to introduce an opt-out system here in 2016 was scuppered by the DUP and Sinn Fein for primarily political reasons, Northern Ireland will soon have the most out-dated and inadequate organ donation system of any part of the UK.
“I would urge the Secretary of State therefore to intervene to ensure that this is not yet another example of the health and well-being of the people of Northern Ireland being impeded by the current political impasse. If she can introduce legislation to pass budgets and set rates, then she can introduce a new measure which we know would immediately begin to save lives.”