Survey echoes Wigan dad's support for 'opt-out' organ donor scheme

Dave Hughes with parner Louise Sedgwick and their son George
Dave Hughes with parner Louise Sedgwick and their son George

Almost three-quarters of people in the North West are in favour of an “opt out” organ donation system, according to new figures from a charity.

Wigan dad Dave Hughes, who is waiting for a new heart, has already backed plans to change the system so people are registered as donors unless they state otherwise.

Now a poll of more than 2,000 people by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has found 74 per cent wanted the law changed.

Of those in the North West who would not support a change, 47 per cent were put off by concerns they would not be able to opt out or that it would be difficult to do so.

The charity says this highlights a lack of public awareness and confusion about the proposed system, which would allow anyone opposed to donating their organs to opt out.

This Friday, MPs have the opportunity to vote in favour of a new bill that will introduce an “opt out” system in England.

People in the North West are being urged to write to their MP to encourage them to attend the debate.

Simon Gillespie, the charity’s chief executive, said: “There is a desperate shortage of organs in the UK and introducing an opt-out system in England will better reflect the views of the general public and give hope to those currently waiting for a transplant they so desperately need.

“We are urging everyone in the North West to encourage their local MP to attend Parliament this Friday to debate a bill that could save lives.”

The BHF says the figures indicate a lack of awareness around the urgency of organ donation, with 60 per cent in the North West underestimating the number of people on the organ transplant list in the UK, which last year peaked at 6,388.

Mr Hughes, 32, from Whelley, was born with a congenital heart defect and remains on the organ list waiting for a new heart.

He told the Post: “This is a real step forward. Scotland and Wales have already gone in the same direction, it cuts waiting times by quite a bit.

“I believe that everybody has their own choice and everybody has their own fortune.

“But if it was someone in your family or someone close to you, there wouldn’t be many people who would opt out. If someone said to me, your last day on this earth would be to save up to eight lives I would jump at the chance.”