Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman has welcomed a letter from the Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention clarifying its policy on organ donation opt-out procedures.
She said: “There is nothing more important than saving a life, and donating organs to provide the gift of life is invaluable. There were, however, concerns in the Jewish – and also in other communities – that any change to the current system in England might put families in a vulnerable position when faced with a situation where donation could take place.
Therefore, we are pleased to have secured the firm reassurances from Government outlined in this letter. Notably this includes the guarantee that discussions with the family will always take place, and full consideration will always be given to the views of a person’s loved one. The letter also states that there will be a new ‘faith’ option on the organ donation register, which will allow people to state that their faith should be respected if the question of organ donation should arise in the future.
This letter will provide many people – not only in our own community, but also in other faith and minority ethnic communities – with the comfort that the change in the organ donation system will respect beliefs, while crucially helping to save lives.
We now look forward to working with the Government and relevant health authorities in developing new guidance, as well as education and training, which will help staff understand and meet the needs of our community.”