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Northern Ireland organ donation law progress

09 February 2022

Legislation intended to increase the number of organs available for transplant in Northern Ireland has passed through the final stage in the Assembly. The ‘soft opt in’ legislation will bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK. It means that people who die in appropriate circumstances will automatically be regarded as potential donors, unless they specifically state otherwise.

northern ireland stormont parliament
Northern Ireland Stormont Parliament

With the short term future of government in doubt after the collapse of the Northern Ireland Executive last week, the news that the legislation has been pushed through comes as a welcome relief to many.

“This is great news for kidney patients in Northern Ireland,” said Alison Railton, head of policy and external affairs at Kidney Research UK. “Across the UK, five people die waiting for a transplant every week, so efforts to improve the process and enable more transplants to happen are vital. Once royal assent is confirmed and the changes embedded, this will buy more people with kidney failure precious time until research can offer more permanent solutions.”

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