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Max and Keira’s law: new ‘opt-out’ organ donor system will be introduced in May

Max and Keira’s law: new ‘opt-out’ organ donor system that assumes all adults to agree to donate when they die will be introduced in May

  • The bill presented to Parliament today shows that it will enter into force on 20 May
  • Named ‘Max and Keira’s Law’ in honor of the boy who got heart from a car accident girl
  • The system will include the concept of “presumed consent” to combat huge waiting lists
  • Officials hope that by 2023 the change will mean 700 extra transplants every year

Ministers have announced that a new opt-out system for organ donation will be introduced within three months.

According to draft regulations to be presented to Parliament this morning, the new system to address the country’s major shortage of transplant organs will enter into force on May 20.

The new rules should be called “Max and Keira’s law” – in honor of a boy who has received a heart transplant and the girl who donated it.

The system will contain a concept called “presumed consent” – meaning that all adults are deemed to have agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they are “opt-out.”

Under the current opt-in system, only people who are in the donor register or whose family decide to donate the organs have a transplant.

Max Johnson was saved by a heart transplant

The organ was given to him by nine-year-old Keira Ball after her death in 2017

The organ was given to him by nine-year-old Keira Ball after her death in 2017

Max and Keira’s law, named after a boy who received a heart transplant from a girl who donated it, cleaned up the House of Commons last year. Max Johnson (left) was rescued by a heart given to him by the family of nine-year-old donor Keira Ball (right) after her death in 2017

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Too many people are losing their lives while waiting for an organ, and I am determined to do what I can to increase the number of organ donations.

‘I am therefore incredibly proud of the action we are taking with this new law. This is an important step forward to make organ donation easier and more available to those in need and can save hundreds of lives every year.


Anyone can become a member of the NHS organ donor register, regardless of age, as long as they: are legally able to make the decision and live in the UK.

Having a disease or medical condition does not necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ donor or tissue donor.

The decision as to whether some or all of the organs or tissues are suitable for transplantation is made by a medical specialist at the time of donation, taking into account your medical, travel and social history.

There are very few conditions where organ donation is completely excluded.

A person cannot become an organ donor if he has or is suspected of having Ebola, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), active cancer, HIV or hepatitis C.

“I pay tribute to the brave campaigns of families such as Max and Keira, whose tireless work in this area has made a huge difference.”

More than 6,000 people are currently waiting for an organ in the UK and three people on the waiting list die every day.

Officials hope that the change will mean an additional 700 transplants every year in 2023, allowing thousands of people in the UK to wait for a transplant.

But they emphasize that organ donation remains a personal decision. When the new system starts in May, families get the final say.

But doctors hope that the “supposed consent system” means that more family members give the green light.

They say that family members often decide not to authorize the removal of organs because they don’t know what their loved one would have wanted.

The current system in England depends on people who register with the organ donor register – and if someone has done so, 91 percent of family members agree to a donation.

If they have not done that, it will drop to 47 percent. Wales, where there has been a supposed consent system since 2015, has the highest consent rates in the UK.

Anthony Clarkson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We hope that the new law encourages more people to record their donation decision and to discuss organ donation with their families.

“It is important that people know that they can do this at any time before or after the law comes into effect. There is no deadline for making your donation decision. “

Jacob West of the British Heart Foundation added: “More than 300 people in the UK are waiting for a heart or a heart and lung transplant in the UK, not knowing when or whether they will receive their new organ.

“The law of Max and Keira is a life-saving law amendment that offers hope to these people and their families.”


Theresa May mentioned the opt-out law Max and the law of Keira in honor of survivor of the heart transplant Max Johnson.

The 10-year-old waited nine months for a new heart until he finally got one in August 2017. He suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy, meaning he had to be kept alive by medical machines.

Theresa May called the opt-out law Max’s Law in honor of heart transplant survivor Max Johnson (photo)

His mother, Emma Johnson, campaigned for an opt-out system to help other children.

In a video message for MPs, Max said, “Please change the law … it will save lives like mine.”

It is said that Max’s story has inspired more than 1,000 people to register with the NHS Organ Donation Register.

His new heart was given by the victim of a car accident Keira Bell, nine, who also donated her kidneys and pancreas.

Mrs. Johnson, 47, said: “Keira saved four people. We will have debts forever. “

Max was awarded the Pride of Britain’s Child of Courage prize in October for his important role in changing the law on organ donation.