Organ donor change shelved
Gordon Brown has shelved plans to introduce an opt-out system of organ donation in the UK despite announcing earlier that he was in favour of trying out the scheme. He has however kept the door open to revisit the scheme if organ donation targets are not met.
1,000 people in the UK die every year waiting for an organ transplant.
Plans for a new opt-out system of organ donation have been shelved after experts advising the Government cast doubt on whether it would work.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was willing to try out the recommendations of the Organ Donation Taskforce, which call for improvements to be made without a change in the law. But he added that the issue might have to be "revisited" later if organ donor targets are not met.
An opt out or presumed consent system would make people automatic donors, giving doctors the right to remove their organs after death unless they make their objections clear in advance.
A "soft" version of the scheme, favoured by the British Medical Association, gives families the final say on whether a loved one's organs can be taken.
Both Mr Brown his chief medical adviser Sir Liam Donaldson are in favour of presumed consent, believing it would help reduce the chronic shortage of transplant organs and save lives.
An estimated 8,000 people in the UK need an organ transplant but only 3,000 operations are carried out each year. Every year 1,000 people die waiting for a transplant. Currently there are almost 16 million people on the organ donor register.