Medicine:Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019

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Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019
Long titleAn Act to make amendments of the Human Tissue Act 2004 concerning consent to activities done for the purpose of transplantation; and for connected purposes.
Introduced byGeoffrey Robinson
Territorial extentEngland and Wales and Northern Ireland[1]
Royal assent15 March 2019
Commencement15 March 2019 1 October 2019 for sections described in the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2019[2]
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted

The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The act changed the law regarding organ donation so that unless someone expressly opted out, they would be deemed as having given consent.[3] It was a private member's bill introduced by Geoffrey Robinson and Lord Hunt of Kings Heath.[4]


The provisions of the act include:

  • Amending the Human Tissue Act 2004 to change organ donation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to an opt-out programme.[5]
  • Excepting adults who have not been resident in England for 12 months prior to their death or one who for a significant period before their death lacked the capacity to consent.[5]


The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 was dubbed "Max and Keira's Law", after Kiera Ball, a nine-year-old child who was killed in a traffic accident whose heart was donated to Max Johnson, another nine year old.[6][7]

The chair of the Medical Ethics committee of the British Medical Association, John Chisholm said the association was "delighted" with the Bill's passing and that the law would "maximise the number of lives that can be saved".[8]

Some critics argued that the NHS would need the money and infrastructure to cope with the change.[9] Some conservative pundits argued that the law represented a government "takeover of the body".[10] Elsewhere, the law prompted discussions about the relationship between organ donation and religious beliefs and practices.[11][12]

Questions were also raised over how effective 'deemed consent' laws were after it was reported that organ donation had not increased significantly after Wales implemented an opt-out system.[13][14]

See also

  • Healthcare in the United Kingdom


  1. "Extent, commencement and short title". Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  2. "The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2019". Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  3. Dyer, Clare (2019). "Organ donation: England's opt-out system could save 700 lives a year". British Medical Journal 364: l954. doi:10.1136/bmj.l954. PMID 30819675. Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  4. "Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019". Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "1 - "Appropriate consent" to adult transplantation activities: England". Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  6. "Opt-out organ donation: Max and Keira's Bill passed into law". Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  7. "Keira's story - Max and Keira's Law". Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  8. "BMA welcomes organ donation bill passing final hurdle". 27 February 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  9. Moreton, Cole (26 February 2019). "This change in the law on organ donation will save hundreds of lives". Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  10. Perrins, Laura (25 February 2018). "The State takeover of all our bodies". Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  11. Gill, Robin (5 October 2018). "Organ donation: When lack of consent is fatal for another". Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  12. Master, Mukhtar (8 July 2019). "Organ Donation: 'The reality exposed'". Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  13. "Opt-out donation plan 'will not increase donors'". 16 August 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2019. 
  14. "Wales' organ donation opt-out law has not increased donors". 4 December 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2019. 

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