Free funerals for organ donors scheme proposed

by Sarah Ashcroft

People who use a living will template to determine that they would like to donate their organs when they die should have their funerals paid for by the NHS.

This is the recommendation of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which believes that such a move would encourage more people to provide organs needed in life saving operations.

However, payment would only be offered if someone who has signed the donor register dies in circumstances that would enable their organs to be used.

Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern, who oversaw the inquiry, said: "The possibility of sparing relatives the financial burden of a funeral might encourage more people to register as donors.

"Paying for the funerals of organ donors would be ethically justified."

Criticism has been voiced by some groups, who believe that the poor will feel encouraged to sign the organ donor register despite not feeling completely comfortable with the idea.

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Published on: October 11, 2011

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