The impact of Max’s Law on organ donations

Posted on September 12, 2018

“Max’s Law” has been named after 10 year old Max Johnson, who was recently saved by a heart transplant. The Daily Mirror followed his journey and campaigned for a change in the law.

The delivery of a Parliamentary Bill to bring in an ‘opt-out scheme’, which will change the current organ donor rules, is to be voted on in the House of Commons this autumn.

If the Bill is passed, the new legislation is expected to come into effect in England in 2020. It has been in place in Wales since 2015 and a similar scheme is being introduced in Scotland.

Under the current system, people opt in to organ donations when they die by signing the NHS Organ Donation Register. However, the new rules will presume that adults are in favour of organ donations when they die and those who do not wish to be a donor will need to opt out via the Register instead.

Statistics from the BBC reveal that 411 people died in the United Kingdom in 2017 before a suitable donor was found and that more than 5,000 people are currently on the waiting list in England alone.

It is hoped that the new legislation will encourage people to discuss whether they would want to be an organ donor in the event of their death as, currently, fewer than half of families give consent for their loved one’s organs to be donated.

The new legislation could save up to 700 lives each year.