Health secretary urges end to ‘fatal reluctance’ to talk about organ donation

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Health secretary urges end to ‘fatal reluctance’ to talk about organ donation

Jeremy Hunt makes his remarks as as a minister from the Department of Health visited a London synagogue to discuss the topic

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for people to overcome “a fatal reluctance” to talk about organ donation, as a minister from the Department of Health visited a London synagogue to discuss opt-out organ donation.

Jackie-Doyle Price was hosted by North Western Reform Synagogue (Alyth) on Thursday evening, accompanied by Sally Johnson, the director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant.

They met Rabbi Josh Levy and heard from peoples different experiences of organ donation, as part of the government’s ongoing consultation into a system of opt-out organ donation, as opposed to the current opt-in system. The consultation ends on 6 March.

Some Orthodox Jewish leaders have expressed concern about an opt-out system, but the majority of the community appears to be in favour, as government figures suggest shifting the balance of presumption could save the lives of 6,500 people currently waiting for a transplant.

Currently, 80 percent of people say they would be willing to donate their organs but only 36 percent register to become an organ donor.

Jackie-Doyle Price speaking at Alyth


“Every day, three people die for want of a transplant, which is why our historic plans to transform the way organ donation works are so important,” said Hunt. “We want as many people as possible to have their say as we shape the new opt-out process.”

He added: “As well as changing the law, we also need to change the conversation. It can be a difficult subject to broach, but overcoming this fatal reluctance to talk openly about our wishes is key to saving many more lives in the future.”

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