The law around organ donation is changing in England.

Last year saw more than 400 patients die whilst on the transplant waiting list.

Under the new system all adults in England will be considered an organ donor unless they record otherwise.

Last year the government publicly announced that the legislation would be commonly referred to as Max’s Law, in recognition of all the campaigning Max Johnson and his family were doing when Max was waiting for a heart transplant.

Max’s gift of life came from a young girl called Keira Ball, who tragically died aged nine years old.

The government wants to increase the number of individuals who receive a donation and believe the opt out system will do just that.

The law has now been passed by Parliament and has received Royal Assent.

Here is what the new system means.

What is changing?

In Spring 2020, all adults in England will be considered an organ donor when they die unless they had recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.

Adults covered by the change will still have the choice as to whether they want to be an organ donor and their families will still be involved in the process.

Those excluded will be people under 18, people who have been ordinarily resident in England for less than 12 months, and people who lack the capacity to understand the change.

Why do we need an opt out system?

There has been tremendous progress in organ donation but there is still a shortage of donors. Last year, 411 patients died in the UK on the transplant waiting list.

To continue progress, the NHS says there is a need a transformation in public attitudes.

More than six out of 10 families agree to organ donation but to meet the needs of patients we need at least eight out of 10 families to support donation and agree to save and improve lives.

The latest evidence from Wales suggests that consent rates have increased significantly since they introduced the opt out system in 2015. The government is keen to see the same progress in England.

When will the opt out system start?

The system will not come into effect until spring 2020, the exact date is not yet confirmed.

A spokesperson for the NHS has said: “The changes will not come into effect immediately to make sure there is plenty of time to inform people about what is changing.

“This will give people time to choose if they want to be an organ donor and to share this decision with their family and friends”.

Am I losing control of my body?

No. Around 500,000 people die every year in the UK but only 1 in 100 people die in circumstances where they are eligible to donate their organs.

Family members will always be asked for permission before donation takes place.

How can I opt out?

The NHS have included a form whereby patients have the option to opt out by filling in their details and submitting the request.

This can be found at

All information is from the NHS organ donation websites. To find out more click here.