A bill with provisions on organ donation and transplantation, post-mortem practice and procedures in hospital settings, anatomical examination, and public display of bodies after death, will be introduced for Second Stage debate in the Dáil later today (24 January).
The Human Tissue (Transplantation, Post-Mortem, Anatomical Examination and Public Display) Bill was described as a ‘landmark’ by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, and will provide a national legislative framework for donation and transplant services.
“This will help increase the donor pool, but it is important to say that families will continue to be consulted ahead of donation, and those individuals who object, for whatever reason, will be able to opt out,” he said.
“Transplantation is currently the only available treatment for end-stage heart, lung and liver failure. It is also the most cost-effective treatment for end-stage kidney disease, and it brings enormous clinical and social benefits to patients who would otherwise remain on dialysis.”
Separately, the bill will also introduce a new regulatory regime to ensure that best practice is followed in respect of post-mortem and organ retention.
In line with the recommendations of the 2005 Madden Report, it introduces consent provisions for non-coronial post-mortems, and sets out a clear framework for how consent should be obtained.
Minister Donnelly added: “The bill recognises the need to introduce safeguards to protect the integrity of the human body before and after death.
"It will make consent for non-coronial post-mortems compulsory, and will improve communication and information-sharing with families for all post-mortems – including those conducted under the direction of the coroner.”
The bill also puts in place arrangements in relation to the practice of anatomy, and will legislate for the governance of the public display of bodies in Ireland.