The Programme for Government envisages the introduction of an opt-out system of organ donation, with a view to improving the availability of organs for patients in need of transplantation. This will require detailed consideration and further consultation and I am developing proposals for Government on this matter. The public consultation process in relation to how such an opt-out system should operate, will generate greater public awareness of the need for organ donation.
In addition to consent systems, there is evidence from other countries that good co-ordination at hospital level and counselling arrangements for relatives are significant factors in achieving high organ donation rates. In conjunction with the HSE's National Organ Donation and Transplantation Office my Department is also examining what practices and organisational changes could further improve donation rates.