The law surrounding organ donation has changed. The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill came into effect on 20 May 2020 and has implemented an opt-out system for organ donation.

Consequently, all adults in England will now automatically be considered as organ donors unless they fall into one of two categories, which are:

  • an excluded group; or
  • they have recorded a decision not to donate.

Individuals who lack capacity are included in the excluded group, and the changes will not affect them. Others in the excluded group are people under the age of 18 and those who have lived in England for less than 12 months or who are not living in England voluntarily.

The best way to ensure that your decision is fulfilled is to register as a donor now and tell your family. A specialist nurse will access the NHS Organ Donor Register before having a conversation with your family to check if any donation decision was recorded by you. There is no deadline to register your decision, and it can be done at any time. If you don’t have many family members, it is even more important to ensure that you register your decision.

You should also register as a donor if you are not comfortable with all your organs being donated and would instead like to choose which organs you are happy being donated on your death.

Family members will still be involved before any decision is made, even if an individual does not opt-out. It is vital to choose whether you want to be an organ donor and also to discuss what you would like to happen with your family. This will give your family the peace of mind that your choice has been honoured. An individual's faith and beliefs are also considered before donation takes place.

If you don’t feel able to make the decision yourself, an available option is that you can nominate up to two people to decide for you when you die. If you would like to nominate someone else to make this decision on your behalf, you will need to complete this form.  This requires physical signatures from the individual concerned, the appointed representative and a witness.

To register your decision, please follow this link. Alternatively, you can call the NHS number to update or reaffirm your decision on 0300 123 23 23.

If you would like to speak to somebody about your choices, please call the NHS dedicated line: 0300 303 2094.

Further information

If your friend or loved one has lost capacity and you need advice regarding their property and finances or health and welfare, please contact Puja Desai in our Court of Protection Team.