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Concerns raised over infrastructure should new organ donation laws pass

Concerns have been raised over the availability of services and appropriate infrastructure if new laws on organ donation are passed.

Discussions over an opt-out system took place before the Oireachtas Health Committee this morning as representatives from the Irish Kidney Association and the Irish Donor Network appeared to discuss the Human Tissue Bill.

The Bill would introduce an opt-out system for organ donors, where they will be presumed to be willing to donate organs unless they state otherwise.

Philip Watt, from the IDN, welcomes the idea but says improvements need to be made in the sector.

"We need more organ retrieval surgeons. We need more donor nurse specialists. We need improved infrastructure and staffing levels in the three transplant centres, The Mater, Beaumont, and St Vincent's, including pre- and operative rooms, and sufficient access to operating theatres," he said.

However, there are questions as to whether such an opt-out system would work.

CEO of the Irish Kidney Association Mark Murphy believes the Bill is "misleading", and instead called for a register for people who wish to donate their organs.

"This is consulted when a potential donor has been identified and knowing that a loved one has proactively recorded their wish to be an organ donor. That makes the family decision to consent a much easier proposition," he said.

Also appearing before the committee was the Department of Health and Organ Donor Transplant Ireland.