Fig­ures re­vealed as MPs are set to vote on law change

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by CLAIRE MILLER

MORE than 70 peo­ple have died in Bucks in the past 10 years while wait­ing for an or­gan trans­plant, new fig­ures show, as MPs are set to vote on a bill to change do­na­tion laws.

Fig­ures show there were 76 deaths of peo­ple in the county on the ac­tive or sus­pended trans­plant list be­tween 2007/08 and 2016/17.

On Fri­day Fe­bru­ary 23, Ge­of­frey Robin­son MP will present a Pri­vate Mem­bers’ Bill in the House of Com­mons to change or­gan do­na­tion laws in Eng­land to an opt-out sys­tem, fol­low­ing the Mir­ror’s Change the Law for Life cam­paign.

At present peo­ple have to opt in to be­come a donor af­ter their death.

The law change will mean they will au­to­mat­i­cally be con­sid­ered a donor un­less they have pre­vi­ously de­cided to opt-out.

Fam­ily mem­bers could still over­rule this should they wish. Wales has al­ready moved to an opt-out sys­tem, with Scot­land set to fol­low.

Max John­son, nine, from Wins­ford, Cheshire, be­came the face of the Mir­ror’s cam­paign when he waited, se­ri­ously ill, for a heart trans­plant at the Free­man Hos­pi­tal in New­cas­tle.

He un­der­went a trans­plant last sum­mer and is now do­ing well, and is calling for MPs to vote to change the law next week.

He said: “Politi­cians have the chance to change the law to help all the other kids who I left be­hind in hos­pi­tal still wait­ing for a trans­plant. Please, please, please ask your MP to do it.”

Max’s mum Emma will be in Lon­don to see the vote.

She said: “In 2016, 470 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 14 chil­dren, died while on the trans­plant list or died af­ter they had been taken off the list, be­cause they had be­come too ill for surgery.

“In the same pe­riod, 460 or­gans suit­able for trans­plant were not used be­cause of lack of con­sent. We must change the law.’

There were more than 75 peo­ple wait­ing for a trans­plant in Bucks as of Au­gust 2017. In Che­sham and Amer­sham seven peo­ple were on the list, while “five or fewer” were recorded in Bea­cons­field. Be­tween 2012/13 and 2016/17, 204 peo­ple in Bucks re­ceived trans­plants, with 74 dead donors giv­ing or­gans dur­ing the same pe­riod.

In Wales, where an opt-out sys­tem was in­tro­duced in De­cem­ber 2015, 65% of the pub­lic in Wales had opted in or taken no ac­tion to opt-out by June 2016.

The opt-out sys­tem has the back­ing of the BMA, which has cam­paigned for the change for many years, with Bri­tish Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion coun­cil chair­man Dr Chaand Nag­paul say­ing it “has the po­ten­tial to save many lives”.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn have both backed a change in the law.

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