Does Malta Need an Opt-Out Donor System?

The Blood Bank has recently requested more donations of ‘O’ and ‘A’ level blood, as reserves are worryingly low.

You can donate at:

Just outside St. Luke’s Hospital (Guardamangia) every day from 8am-6pm.

Mater Dei Hospital on Mondays from 2-7pm.

Gozo General Hospital on alternate Sundays from 8am-1pm.

Such appeals for the donation of blood as issued regularly by the Blood Bank also raises the issue of organ donation. Although the number of registered donors in Malta is quite substantial, there is still quite a way to go to encourage people to take this step. Besides this, Malta has a similar system to the UK where people have to opt-in but the final decision, regarding whether organs are to be donated, is still up to their next of kin.

According to recent statistics, an average of three people a day die in the UK due to an organ shortage. These deaths would drastically be reduced if countries similar to the UK and Malta reformed to an opt-out system, (anyone who has not refused is a donor), as found in Spain. That particular country has the highest donation rate in the world (and three times more organs available than Britain) due to this change in approach which has had clearly measurable results.

Although Malta’s situation is not as desperate as the UK’s, changing legislation is absolutely necessary to save more lives. As this is still in progress, we must make every effort possible to encourage people to become donors and to tell their families to follow their wishes.

Would you accept someone’s organs if you were at death’s door? How would you feel if your partner or best friend couldn’t receive a transplant because the donor’s family said ‘no’?

Give the greatest gift and save lives. Donate blood and learn more about donating organs.