MP backs Labour's opt out plans for organ donation

An MP whose daughter is waiting for a kidney donation has backed Labour's plans to introduce an opt-out organ donor system if it gets back into Government.

Thursday, 28th September 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 29th September 2017, 4:20 pm
Julie Elliott MP, left, with daughter Rebecca , centre, and sister Joan, right, after completing a walk to raise funds for Kidney Research UK in June this year.

Leader Jeremy Corbyn announced the plan in his speech at the party’s conference in Brighton yesterday.

The change would see presumed consent for organ donations, whereby organs become available for transplants unless people decide not to take part.

Jeremy Corbyn addresses the Labour Party conference, where he confirmed the plans.

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Some 400 Britons die each year while waiting for a transplant, with Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott among those who have called for a change.

Her daughter Rebecca, 35, is on the waiting list for a new kidney, with Ms Elliott a vocal backer of the NHS Blood and Transplant service’s drive to get people to sign up and speak to their families about their wishes.

She said: “I’m delighted that Jeremy has announced that the opt out system of organ donation is to be Labour Party policy.

“We now need the Government to act on this as a matter or urgency.”

Jeremy Corbyn addresses the Labour Party conference, where he confirmed the plans.

In the last decade, 37 people from Sunderland have died waiting for a transplant, while 32 Wearsiders were listed as being on the transplant waiting list earlier this month.

Mr Corbyn told his conference: “There are more than 5,000 people on organ transplant waiting lists, but a shortage of donors means that in recent years only 3,500 of them get the life-saving treatments they need.

“So that everybody whose life could be saved by an organ transplant can have the gift of life, from one human being to another.”

The law has already been changed in Wales.

Mr Corbyn added: “Today I make the commitment, a Labour government will do the same for England.”

Ms Elliott has written about her support of the NHS’s organ donation campaign.

She said: “A great many people in Sunderland Central constituency are on the NHS Organ Donation Register, and I would encourage many more to sign up.

“However, hundreds of lifesaving transplants are being missed around the country every year – simply because families didn’t know what their relative wanted.”

“If you want to be a donor, your family’s agreement is still needed for donation to go ahead, even if you are on the NHS Organ Donor Register.”

More information about organ donation can be found via