Sunderland MP's delight as new 'opt out' organ donation reform set to become law

A Wearside MP whose daughter is on the waiting list for a new kidney has spoken of her delight after a new opt-out system for organ donation cleared its final parliamentary hurdle.

Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 15:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 15:47 pm
Julie Elliott MP, left, with daughter Rebecca , centre, and sister Joan, right, after completing a walk to raise funds for Kidney Research UK.

The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill, which received an unopposed third reading in the House of Lords, now goes forward for Royal Assent.

Under the backbench legislation, which applies only to England, adults will be presumed to be organ donors unless they have specifically recorded their decision not to be.

The move, which the Government estimates will save hundreds of lives each year, will replace the existing voluntary opt-in scheme.

MP for Sunderland Central Julie Elliott described the development as "wonderful news".

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Ms Elliott's daughter Rebecca has been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

Speaking in a previous debate Julie said Rebecca - a married mum-of-one - had been referred to the renal unit of the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle after routine blood tests showed a problem with her kidneys in October 2016.

She remains on the transplant list. Reacting to the news today Julie said: "This is wonderful news - the change to informed consent in organ donation will mean many more organs will become available for transplant."This move will save so many lives, and I am glad we have finally reached this stage."I must pay tribute to all the campaigners who have worked tirelessly for this."

The legislation, introduced by Geoffrey Robinson MP, was steered through the House of Lords by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, who expressed his gratitude for the cross-party support the bill had received.

The legislation has become known as Max and Keira's Law after a boy who received a heart transplant and the girl who donated it, and Lord Hunt paid tribute to both youngsters.

The Labour peer said: "I am convinced that the passing of this Bill will lead to many more organ donations and lives saved, whilst retaining the involvement of the family in what will remain a remarkably altruistic act of giving."

During a previous debate Julie spoke of the impact that her daughter's illness had had on her.

She said: “This sort of illness strikes indiscriminately, and when we attend appointments, we see everyone from very young people through to older people; we see people from all walks of life.

“It is heartbreaking seeing people with this sort of illness.”