Organ Donation, opt-in, opt-out?

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On October 3rd the Prime Minister announced plans to introduce an opt-out system of consent for organ donation into England (1), indicating that a consultation on the proposal would be launched before the end of the year.   Dr Paul Murphy, National Clinical Lead for Organ Donation, explains why the time for such a system is right.

Opt-out systems of consent are generally associated with higher donor numbers, although demonstrating a causal link remains elusive.  A consultation on a ‘soft opt out’ system in Scotland earlier in the year showed considerable support for it (2), whilst a system of so-called deemed consent already operates in Wales.  The Welsh system was enacted in December 2015 following an intense period of public education and professional preparation.  Whilst there have been encouraging signs in consent rates, as yet none have reached statistical significance and neither has there been any demonstrable increase in donor numbers.

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A consultation on a ‘soft opt out’ system in Scotland earlier in the year showed considerable support for it

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The Beginning of the End?

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Dr Gary Masterson, President of the Society, reflects on how changes in the way critical care is commissioned may impact on critical care bed provision.

There have always been (and always will be) bed pressures in critical care. I don’t know about you, but I find this the most stressful aspect of my job. However, over the last 20 years of my working life as a consultant, when I have had the misfortune of stumping around my hospital’s general wards, I am always extremely glad to return home to my critical care unit. The general wards struggle: they’re jam-packed with elderly and frail patients with nowhere else to go, grossly understaffed, chaotic and little in the way of continuity of care. You know what I mean. In critical care, we don’t suffer these problems to the same extent and, since the advent of critical care networks and a more regional approach to managing critical care beds, we can usually cope when bed are short.

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Rehabilitation after critical illness in adults

Gill Sharpe

Gillian Sharpe, Lead Critical Care Physiotherapist, Chesterfield Royal Hospital, welcomes the update on NICE Quality Standard CG83 and the increased focus on rehabilitation of the critically ill it will bring.

Historically, mortality rates have been the main indicator of success following critical illness. Healthcare professionals working with the critically ill however, have long recognized that many of those who survive are left with significant physical and non-physical morbidity and often face a lengthy convalescence.

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