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NHS Should Pay for Funerals of Organ Donors

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Those who choose to donate their organs should have their funerals funded by the NHS according to a report by the Nuffield Council on bioethics.

The suggestion is that it would provide an incentive for more people to register as organ donors.
Currently, 3 people die daily whilst waiting for organs whilst 8,000 people continue to wait on the list.

Nuffield have advised that the government run a pilot scheme in order to judge public opinion on the idea. However the report did not support any proposals for an ‘opt out’ system.

Lead of the investigation, Dame Marilyn Strathem stated, “The possibility of sparing relatives the financial burden of a funeral might encourage more people to register as donors. Paying for the funerals of organ donors would be ethically justified.”

However, this would only be the case if the potential donor died in circumstances that allowed their organs to be fit for donation or research. This principle is currently in place for those who successfully donate their body for the purpose of medical training.

The report further suggested that scrapping the expenses cap of £250 for those wishing to donate sperm and eggs for the purpose of research would encourage more donors.

In response to the report and the debate it has sparked, NHS Blood and Transplant stated, “It will help to increase awareness of the need for people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register and discuss their wishes with their friends and families (but) the legal, ethical and practical issues raised by these recommendations will need careful consideration and evaluation.”

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