Plans for opt-out organ donation system by the end of summer

There were 280 organ transplants carried out here last year

Plans for opt-out organ donation system by the end of summer

Image: Facebook/Irish Kidney Association

Health Minister Simon Harris says he wants to see legislation to provide for an opt-out system of consent for organ donation.

This would mean that any deceased person is considered a potential organ donor, unless they expressly refuse permission for their organs to be donated.

Mr Harris was speaking as he officially opened the new headquarters of the Health Service Executive's (HSE) Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI) office in Dublin city.

This gives the ODTI a dedicated premises from which to coordinate services.

It was established to provide governance, integration and leadership for organ donation and transplantation.

There are three transplant centres in Ireland: the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, St Vincent's University Hospital (SVUH) and Beaumont Hospital.

The 2016 ODTI annual report revealed that 280 organ transplants were carried out here last year.

This marks the second highest yearly performance achieved, with an average rate of 23 transplants per month.

Last year there were:

  • 172 kidney transplants at National Renal Transplant service, Beaumont Hospital
  • 58 liver transplants at National Liver transplant service, St Vincent's University Hospital
  • 35 lung transplants and 15 heart transplants at the National Heart lung transplant service at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

Within the ODTI, the National Organ Procurement Service (NOPS) is managed by six donor coordinators.

NOPS provides a 24 hour, on-call service planning and arranging transplants when donor organs become available.

Speaking Monday, Minister Harris said: "I'm proud to say that the 2016 organ transplant figures, which saw 280 transplants carried out, is the second highest annual performance achieved to date.

"The Living Kidney Donor Programme continues to go from strength to strength, and the excellent performance of the National Renal Transplant Service in Beaumont Hospital saw a remarkable increase in living donor transplants from 33 in 2015 to a record 50 last year.

"I want to emphasise that I have prioritised the development of legislation to provide for an opt-out system of consent for organ donation, and my department is currently working on this in the context of work required to develop an over-arching human tissue policy and legislative framework.

"I intend to bring a memo to Government shortly setting out this policy direction and it is my intention to launch a public consultation on the development of the proposals before the end of the summer."