Health Minister Andrew Green has lodged a proposition to introduce an opt-out organ donation system more than a year after first suggesting it. Under the scheme, Islanders who do not wish to donate their organs would have to sign up to a register.
Jersey has traditionally had low sign-up rates to the organ donor register, with a 2017 survey showing that just 14 per cent of Jersey adults had registered, compared to around 36 per cent in the UK.
Following responses gathered in the Jersey Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, the Health Minister has pressed ahead with a ‘soft opt-out’ scheme, which would still involve doctors talking to a potential donor’s family before organs were harvested. Similar schemes are already in place in Wales and France while Scotland and England have outlined proposals to implement the system.
A Scrutiny review has already begun, with the minister due to appear before the Health and Social Security Panel this morning.
The panel will review the proposals to ensure the new system has appropriate safeguards to protect vulnerable Islanders and to understand how the new system would be introduced.
Senator Green said: ‘I’m very pleased to have reached the point where we have been able to lodge this important new law ahead of the debate in the States Assembly in April.
‘We will be working with Scrutiny to answer any questions they have at the hearing later this week, and I hope my fellow States Members will support the proposition and enable the new law to be brought in.’
Under the proposed law changes, children under 18, adults who have not been resident in Jersey for 12 months and those who ‘lack capacity to understand the notion of deemed consent’ will not be included in the opt-out system.
Deputy Richard Renouf, chairman of the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel, said: ‘My Panel is currently reviewing the Health Minister’s plans to introduce an opt-out organ donation system in Jersey.
‘We will be questioning the Minister on his plans in a public hearing next Thursday. We are keen to ensure that the public’s views on this are addressed by the Health Minister. The public can send us their questions via twitter using #asktheministerjsy and #organdonationjsy.’
The proposition is due to be debated on Tuesday 10 April.