Thursday, January 3, 2013
A Withycombe man campaigning to boost the number of transplantable organs is urging residents to help force a parliamentary debate after the health secretary rejected his proposals.
Steve Gazzard of Marpool Close wants to change the law – currently organ donors ‘opt-in’ and he wants it changed so people ‘opt-out’.
It follows the death of his daughter Sarah, who lost her battle with a chronic lung condition.
She was on the transplant waiting list but a suitable donor could not be found and there are a dozen others like her in East Devon.
Steve believes that the change would save more lives, a belief also shared by the town and district council’s who have backed his campaign.
But the idea has been rejected by government and now Steve is urging Exmouth residents to sign an online petition.
If 120,000 names are registered by September parliament will be forced into a debate.
In a letter the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, told Steve: “…although an opt-out system might deliver benefits, it would present significant challenges and risks that might not be necessary to deliver the desired increase in organ donation rates.
“There fore the task force (responsible for looking into the issue) does not recommend introducing an opt-out system at this time.”
Steve said: “I am disappointed and I will be writing back to seek a clarification.
“He says that that an opt-out system might deliver risks.
“But he doesn’t explain what they are.
“I fervently believe that an opt-out system would be better and I don’t understand his logic.”
Currently the campaign has 1,200 names, up from 700 just last month.
“You never know what’s around the corner. One day you could be as fit as a fiddler then something happens.
“That is why it is also important to keep signing up people for the organ register and to sign this petition.”
The e-petition is online at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38220.