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New changes proposed in organ donation rules in Britain will help ethnic minorities

By A Staff Reporter

LONDON Feb 26: New changes being approved by the UK government would turn everyone into an organ donor unless they opt out. This means automatically one will become an organ donor.
MPs last week have backed the landmark bill that could save hundreds of lives every year by introducing an “opt-out” organ donation process. Under current rules donors, or their families, must declare whether they would be happy for their organs to be given to someone else in the event of their death. But a new proposed law, backed by the Commons last week, would drastically change the rules meaning that people would have to, instead, declare if they do not want to be a donor.
Labour MP Virendra Sharma told how his brother had been waiting five years for a kidney. He said the law would particularly help ethnic minority families, whose communities were 50 per cent more likely to refuse permission for donations.
If you support organ donation, act today by telling your family you want to donate and join the NHS Organ Donor Register.
This website spoke to Dr Agimol Pradeep who has been in the forefront for the opt out option within the ethnic minorities. Dr Agimol had done a thesis on this subject too which makes it more important to hear from her. Excerpts from a brief interview with Dr Agimol Pradeep
Q. What role could your thesis project on this subject played in this joint decision by Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May?
A: My study looked into South Asians perspective on Opt out topic. There was a gap in knowledge on this topic especially reflecting from the Minority perspective. I managed to get opinions from 907 South Asian participants and it was really encouraging as majority supported implementing this. But it was evident that people are not aware about the system, so we have more to do to educate public. I was fortunate to write to The  Prime Minister Theresa May informing my study outcome and reiterating about the support from South Asians. I am sure there are many like me who worked tirelessly to get this result, but definitely feeling blessed that I had an opportunity to take this topic as one of my Thesis objectives and to witness this great outcome. 
Q. Was opt out a major obstacle or hurdle? What were the three top reasons for opt out after the death of the person?
A: Yes
Approval from Government officials
Approval from Medical professionals
Approval from public.
Of course implementation of this law is not going to easy as there are many factors we need to consider. Education among the public; when we say education- religious and political leaders play a vital role in influencing individuals in decision making. 
Resources is another big factor to take into considerations. Staffs, Operation Theatre spaces, ITU bed capacity, Transport etc. 
Q. How does this decision impact the BAME communities?
A: If it is implemented successfully many patients who are listed from BAME community will have an increased chance of receiving a successful transplant. Our current donor data inform us that BAME donor rate is very low; which is directly affecting patients from this community as most often, best tissue type match for donor to recipient is achieved if they are from the same ethnic group. 
Q. Is there anything that the public can do to support this initiative at this juncture?
A: Public consultation via DoH website is still open so if anyone want to participate they can to express their views and raise their concerns. It will be beneficial if we can organise local education sessions to raise awareness on this topic. 
Q. What other initiatives are you looking for the government to change in regards to organ donation or any other matters of importance to BAME communities.
A: We are talking about soft opt out that means families will be approached and they may override potential donors wish to be a donor. Hoping that Government will make the rule stating nobody can override potential donors wish. It’s just that we are loosing many potential donors due to family’s refusal especially from BAME community.