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Health: New initiative for organ donation reform in the Bundestag

Health: New initiative for organ donation reform in the Bundestag
Health: New initiative for organ donation reform in the Bundestag

Organ donations can save lives – and many people think they are generally a good thing. However, they often postpone a concrete decision for or against them. Will there be a major new regulation after all?

In the struggle for more organ donations in Germany, a new attempt in the Bundestag to fundamentally reform the donation rules is in sight. A cross-party group of MPs wants to present a motion for the “introduction of an opt-out regulation” this Monday, according to the announcement of the date.

The aim is to ensure that everyone is initially considered a donor – unless they object. Organ removal is currently only permitted with explicit consent. A first attempt at an opt-out solution failed in 2020 in a vote without party guidelines in the Bundestag.

Still too few organ donations

The new initiative will be presented by MPs Sabine Dittmar (SPD), Gitta Connemann (CDU), Armin Grau (Greens), Christoph Hoffmann (FDP), Peter Aumer (CSU) and Petra Sitte (Left Party). North Rhine-Westphalia recently made a move in this direction with several other states, which is currently being discussed in the Bundesrat. The reason for this is that there are still too few organ donations. Around 8,400 people are on waiting lists as a result.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has also repeatedly spoken out in favor of a fundamental change to an opt-out solution. The number of organ donors is falling short of what is needed, argued the SPD politician. He made it clear that the problem cannot be solved without the opt-out solution. As a member of parliament, Lauterbach, as well as the then Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), had campaigned for this in 2020.

The German Foundation for Patient Protection criticizes

However, in the vote in the Bundestag, a motion was passed that confirmed the principle of consent. Instead, it aimed to provide more information and easier documentation of declarations of general willingness to donate. However, a central online register for this was only launched two years late in March. Delays were caused, among other things, by the Corona crisis.

The German Foundation for Patient Protection criticized that instead of implementing the transplantation law that was only reformed four years ago, the opt-out regulation was now being used as the big idea. Even in Europe’s model countries, this alone had not improved anything, said board member Eugen Brysch.

Only organizational and structural measures brought about the change. These included financial incentives for hospitals, a transplant network that made processes more efficient, and training coordinators to speak with relatives.

Source: Stern

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