Changes pave way for organ donation ‘opt out’ system


In the run up to the move to an ‘opt out’ system for organ donation on the Isle of Man, an important change is being made to the driving licence application form. 

From Tuesday 1 February, the option for Isle of Man residents to record their organ donation decision via the driving licence application process will be removed.  Instead, applicants will be prompted to register their decision directly on to the NHS Organ Donor Register – either by visiting https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/ or calling 0300 123 23 23.

Users of the NHS app will also be able use this service to register, check or update their decision. This move has been taken following a review of Island organ donation records carried out by the Isle of Man Government and NHS Blood and Transplant. 

As part of this work, the Isle of Man Government and NHS Blood and Transplant are now undertaking a joint project to reconcile up to 66,000 driving licence records with the central NHS Organ Donor Register. The secure transfer of data is due to take place in February once the new driving licence application form is in use. 

Infrastructure Minister Tim Crookall MHK said: ‘As part of our preparations for the move to the new “opt out” system we have worked closely with the team at NHS Blood and Transplant to identify the best and most effective way for organ donation decisions to be recorded.
‘Rather than continue to collect data on the Island ourselves, a decision has been taken to stop asking people to indicate their preference as part of the driving licence application process and, instead, provide all the relevant information to enable them to register direct. 
‘This is an important step in readying ourselves for the implementation of the new law. We expect all existing records to be successfully transferred to the NHS register by the end of February.’ 

The Human Tissue and Organ Donation Bill, driven by former Garff MHK Martyn Perkins, received Royal Assent to become an Act in July last year, moving the Isle of Man closer to requiring people to opt out if they do not want to donate.

Work is now taking place to implement the new law during the current administration and set a commencement date to enable it to come into force. Cabinet Office Minister Kate Lord-Brennan MHK said:

\‘The donation of organs and tissue saves and improves thousands of lives across the UK and crown dependencies each year. The hope is that the implementation of the Human Tissue and Organ Donation Act (2021), known as Daniel’s Law in memory of Daniel Boyde, will increase the number of available organ donors to address the shortage in the UK and Isle of Man. 

‘Organ donation remains an individual choice and relatives of loved ones who die in circumstances where a transplant is possible will still be consulted before donation goes ahead. It is important to discuss your choice with your family and loved ones and register your donation decision with the Organ Donor Register – whether you wish for your organs to be donated or not.’ 

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: ’We are extremely pleased that we have been able to work with the team in the Isle of Man to support the change in the law. By joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and telling your family about your decision, you can help us save even more lives.’ 

To find out more about organ donation, or to register your organ donation decision, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23. Information on the Isle of Man driving licence application process can be found by visiting the Isle of Man Government website, under the Travel, Traffic and Motoring section.

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