UK & World News
NHS 'Should Pay' For Organ Donor Funerals
The NHS should pay for the funerals of organ donors to boost the number of life-saving transplant operations, according to an influential ethics watchdog.
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics said more people would join the organ register if they knew their relatives would not have to pay for their funeral expenses.
It suggests the NHS starts a pilot scheme to gauge public opinion.
There are 8,000 people in the UK who need an organ transplant. Every day, three people die while on the waiting list.
Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern, who headed the inquiry, said: "Paying for the funerals of organ donors would be ethically justified. No harm can come to the donor, and it would be a form of recognition from society."
Keith Rigg, a transplant surgeon at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said although 18 million people are on the organ register, relatively few die in circumstances where a donation can be used.
"Families will of course to be able to turn down the offer (of payment) if they so wished," he said.
The council also wants the £250 cap on the expenses claimed by egg and sperm donors to be lifted.
It said payment over and above expenses would compensate for the inconvenience and discomfort experienced by donors.