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Organ transplantation and the Human Tissue Act
  1. Andy R Weale,
  2. Paul A Lear
  1. North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 MrA R Weale
 North Bristol NHS Trust, Westbury on Trym, Bristol BS10 5NB, UK; andy{at}

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Changes in the law may have a positive impact on organ donation

On 1 September 2006, the legislation relating to organ donation within the UK changed. The Human Tissue Act 2004 and The Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006 established the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) and has altered the way every potential donor is managed, be they deceased or living.

Like the rest of the world, in the UK, the disparity between the number of patients awaiting transplantation of solid organs and the number of organs available continues to increase. In 2005, the number of patients actively waiting on the list had increased by 9% to 6543, and the number of organs transplanted had decreased by around 7% to 2746; (2195 deceased donor and 551 living donor transplants) (

In the UK, 80% of all solid organ transplants are from deceased donors ( The number of such donors continues to decline, with 41% of next of kin approached about potential donation refusing consent.1 A further 15% of potential donors are not considered for donation, as the next of kin are not approached. The new Act has the potential to make a big impact on deceased donation, as registration with the UK Organ Donor Register ( will in …

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  • Competing interests: None declared.