WEST Australians would automatically go on the Australian Organ Donor Register unless they opted out, under new donor laws set to be debated in State Parliament later this year.
WA MPs Joe Francis, Vince Catania and Martin Whitely will introduce a private member's Bill which, if passed, would mean that unless people opted out of the register, hospitals could use their organs for transplants.
The Liberal, National and Labor MPs said that the existing system, in which Australians voluntarily registered consent to organ and tissue donation for transplantation, simply wasn't working and the time had come for a public debate on the issue.
The tragic situation of young mum Claire Murray highlighted the clear need for more people to be organ donors, Mr Whitely said.
No one should die because of a shortage of donors.
Health Minister Kim Hames and acting Health Department boss Kim Snowball yesterday joined calls for a public debate on changes to the system of organ donation.
Organ donation rates in Western Australia are disappointingly low and our current opt-in method is clearly in need of public debate, Dr Hames said.
Countries such as Belgium have an opt-out method which has proved successful, but whether Western Australia is prepared to take that leap needs to be up to the people.
Mr Snowball said any move to consider opt-out legislation would benefit West Australians by airing concerns about the system in the community.
He said some surgeons believed that even under an opt-out system, doctors would not harvest organs from patients unless their family gave consent.
What I would really encourage, though, is that the debate is something that not only the community needs to be involved in but so do our clinicians, Mr Snowball said.
In WA, about 680,000 people are registered as donors.