New data reveals that the donations of over 500 registered organ donors in the U.K. were vetoed by grieving family members over the last five years, and the NHS intends to take action to prevent this happening in the future.
NHS Blood and Transplant figures reveal that relatives prevented 547 transplants — or 1 in 7 cases — since 2010, International Business Times reports. These could ultimately have helped provide organs for 1,200 patients.
According to BBC News, NHSBT says it will no longer seek the formal consent of families, to make such “overrides” more exceptional. Instead families will be issued a leaflet that explains that consent lies with the deceased, and while relatives will still be able to veto, their reasons for doing so must now be expressed in writing.
The NHSBT hopes this new move will spark a 9 per cent increase in donors.
“We are taking a tougher approach — but also a more honest approach”, NHSBT’s director Sally Johnson said.
“My nurses are speaking for the person who has died. People who join the register want and expect to become organ donors. We do not want to let them down.
“We have every sympathy for families — and of course we do not want to make their grief worse. We think this will make what is a hugely distressing day easier for them, by reducing the burden on them.
“The principle that the individual affected is the one who consents applies throughout medicine, and it is not different because someone has died”.
There are reportedly 6,578 people currently waiting for transplants in the U.K.