Opt-Outs and Upgrades: Ethics and Law in the United Kingdom

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Stammers, Trevor ; James, Matt (2014)
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We report on two areas in which UK law and ethics seem out of step with each other. 2013 saw the passing of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill, which will introduce an opt-out system of organ donation in Wales from 2015. In the first section, we discuss the convoluted evolution of the Bill and some potential problems that we consider may prevent it from achieving its intended goal of increasing the number of organs transplanted. The prospect of being able to enhance human cognition through cognitive-enhancing drugs (“smart drugs”) also presents a nexus of questions associated with future ambitions, hopes, and concerns as a society. How these drugs might affect the future of work and employment is beginning to generate wide public engagement in the UK and forms the focus of the second section.
  • References (76)
    76 references, page 1 of 8

    1. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, along with the Republic of Ireland, together make up the British Isles. Great Britain is made up of Scotland, England, and Wales.

    2. HTA 2004, part 1; available at www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/30/section/1 (last accessed 8 Nov 2013), at 1c.

    3. HTA 2004, schedule 1, part 1. Purposes requiring consent; available at http://www.legislation.gov. uk/ukpga/2004/30/schedule/1, at 7.

    4. See note 2, HTA 2004.

    5. NHSBT. How to become a donor; available at http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/how_to_become_ a_donor/ (last accessed 8 Nov 2013).

    6. Wilkinson TM. Ethics and the Acquisition of Organs. Oxford University Press; 2011, at 101.

    7. Richards JR. The Ethics of Transplants-Why Careless Thought Costs Lives. Oxford University Press; 2012, at 156.

    8. Welsh Government. Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill; available at http://wales.gov.uk/topics/ health/nhswales/majorhealth/organ/?lang=en (last accessed 8 Nov 2013).

    9. Organ Donation Task Force. The Potential Impact of an Opt-Out System for Organ Donation in the UK; 2010; available at http://www.ics.ac.uk/the_potential_impact_of_an_opt_out_system_to_organ_ donation_in_the_uk (last accessed 8 Nov 2013), at 6, 2.1.

    10. Organ Donation Task Force. Organs for Transplant; 2008; available at http://www.bts.org.uk/ Documents/Publications/Organs%20for%20transplants%20- %20The%20Organ%20Donor%20Task %20Force%201st%20report.pdf (last accessed 8 Nov 2013).

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