British drivers asked to become organ donors
Anyone applying for a driving licence in Britain will be asked if they want to join an organ donation scheme under new proposals to boost the number of donors, it was announced on Friday.
The system to be piloted from July will make would-be drivers state if they want to sign up to the National Health Service Organ Donor Register or defer a decision until a later date.
Authorities hope it will boost the numbers of those willing to donate vital organs to help others live in the case of their own death. Some 8,000 people in Britain are waiting for a transplant.
Under the current system, applicants can miss out a question on donation when applying for a driving licence.
But the new rules will require that they opt to either register for donation, state that they have already signed up or state: "I do not want to answer this question now."
At present, just over a quarter of British residents are registered donors, but studies have revealed that a far larger proportion are in favour of donating body parts.
Public health minister Anne Milton said: "Surveys show that a large number of people in the UK are happy to donate their organs for transplantation but haven't got round to registering.
"We hope that by prompting people into making a decision we can encourage more people to register.
"We also need people to think and talk about organ donation with their families so people know what family members want."
© 2010 AFP