‘Why I am backing new organ donation bill’

Chloe Smith MP Pic: Eliza Boo Photography

Chloe Smith MP Pic: Eliza Boo Photography - Credit: Eliza Boo Photography

Should people have to opt out of organ donation? Norwich North MP CHLOE SMITH explains why she is backing a new Bill

Papers like the Evening News often tell you amazing stories about what an organ transplant has meant to a local person. And in Parliament this week we started work on a bill that may well help more people get the transplant they really need.

The Government have outlined plans to implement a new system of consent for organ and tissue donation in England. Under these new proposals, the system will shift the balance of presumption in favour of organ donation, meaning everyone will be considered an organ donor unless they have explicitly recorded a wish not to be or are from an excluded group.

It's thought that as a result of these changes, as many as 700 more lives could be saved every year.

You can find more details about the Organ Donation Bill here

Personally, I support the aim of getting more people to become organ donors and I support this Bill. I do, however, recognise that shifting from an 'opt in' to an 'opt out' system does pose important ethical questions, so I'd welcome hearing constituents' views on this matter. As your MP I will, of course, ensure these are fed into the debate and the government's work.

There has already been a full public consultation which has helped build the evidence base.

As a constituency MP, it is important for me to hear a wide range of views from constituents on all topics but especially the big ones such as this. In the meantime, I will continue my work in parliament and keep you updated on the developments of this bill as it continues.

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Here in Norwich, I hear from a lot of people how they want to be able to get around the city more easily. Often this will be for work, but could easily be for college or to see family. Our city is a wonderful place to live, but could be even better if there was better transport.

So I'm calling on the government to help us with some funding to improve our transport links inside and around Norwich.

It would make a lot of difference to thousands of people who want to reach jobs or new homes in our city if the Department for Transport say yes to making our bus links better. More than 300,000 people are thought to be in our city during the working day and it would be great to better connect the city centre with the suburbs to let people get to Norwich's opportunities.

For example, there's no bus route at the moment to the major new homes being built to the north east of Norwich. There's no bus route between the airport and the train station. People living on some of the estates I represent in north Norwich find it hard to get to work or college by public transport if they don't have a car.

I've teamed up with the city council, county council and surrounding councils to apply to the Department for Transport for special funds to transform our city. In north Norwich, the plan would help people in Mile Cross, Catton Grove, the north city, Sprowston and Heartsease. People could more easily get to the hospital, the university, the great new aviation academy, the airport, and many jobs in the business and industrial parks.

I am pressing ministers to say yes because people have told me they need it. It's also got the support of local organisations including Liftshare, the Norfolk Car Club, the Norwich Cycling Campaign, bus companies and the train company, the Norwich Research Park and dozens of employers. I think this could be a great opportunity for Norwich.