Northern Ireland

Organ donation bill: Top doctors welcome rejection

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Media captionNI's most senior organ transplant doctors have told the BBC that Northern Ireland is not ready yet for an opt-out system where the public have to register their wishes not to donate their organs when they die.

NI's most senior clinicians involved in organ transplantation and donation have welcomed the rejection of an assembly bill to introduce an opt out system for Northern Ireland.

The private members' bill proposed that everyone would be on the organ donation register unless they opted out.

The bill was brought by Ulster Unionist Jo-Anne Dobson.

The clinicians congratulated Ms Dobson for raising awareness of the issue.

However, the three doctors - Dr Aisling Courtney, Dr Tim Brown and Dr Paul Glover - said that educating the public to sign up to the organs register was the best way forward.

"Our only concern is that the opt out system, if it's not understood well by the public, is that it will actually deter people from donating," Dr Courtney said.

"So we have a good system, we want to do whatever we can to make it better, and we're just not convinced just yet that the public in Northern Ireland have the inside understanding of the opt out.

"We're concerned it might make things worse and what we all want, and what Jo-Anne wants, is to make things better."

Image caption The organs donation bill was brought by Ulster Unionist Jo-Anne Dobson

Dr Glover also said that the current system in Northern Ireland was working well.

"Northern Ireland actually has the highest organ donation rate in the UK and, in fact, has one of the highest donation rates internationally," he said.

"So in fact we are doing very well as far as donor numbers are concerned."

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