Caroline Flint

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Caroline backs vital change to organ donation legislation

Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley, backed the cross-party campaign for opt-out organ donation, speaking in Parliament on Wednesday to back crucial new legislation.

Said Caroline, speaking afterwards: “This historic change to the law will mean that people still have a choice about organ donation. Opting out will be simple and easy.

“However, we must all answer the question: “If one of us, or one of our loved ones, were in need of an organ transplant, would we want to have it available to us?” I think we would unanimously say yes.

“That’s why it’s important that this law is changed – to save as many lives as possible.”

Caroline also used her speech in Parliament to pay tribute to her constituent, Amie Knott, from Thorne, whose brother Andrew sadly died waiting for a transplant.

Flint continued: “Amie has been an inspiration. She has been in touch with me and other MPs across South Yorkshire to get support for the legislation, but she has not stopped there. She is continually out and about in Thorne and beyond, trying to encourage people to sign up to the organ donor register.

“It was an honour to pay tribute to her in my speech.”

You can watch Caroline's speech by clicking here or you can read Caroline’s full speech below: 

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Wilson, and to be part of this historic occasion. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry North West, the Minister, and the cross-party collaboration that has ensured we can today wish the Bill a successful journey towards becoming law.

It is important to say that the Bill is not about taking away choice. Even though it is significant and historic, following the good work done in Wales, the Bill will mean that people will still have a choice. Opting out will be simple and easy, and the views of family and friends will not be dismissed, but importantly—I say this as someone who has been an organ donor for most of her adult life, as well as a blood donor—we have to answer the question, “If one of us, or one of our loved ones, were in need of an organ transplant, would we want to have it available to us?” I think we would unanimously say yes. If that is the case, we have to ask how to make sure that chance is available.

I have been struck by the campaigns outside of the House, including the Daily Mirror’s “Change the Law for Life” campaign and the support of Kidney Care UK, the British Heart Foundation and the British Medical Association. All have done their bit to make this issue so important and put it in the public sphere, but for many of us, the personal stories have had the most impact. I will cite two: the first is that of Amie Knott, from Thorne in my constituency, whose brother Andrew sadly died waiting for a transplant. She has been in touch with me and other hon. Friends across South Yorkshire to get support for the legislation, but she has not stopped there. She is continually out and about in Thorne, Doncaster and beyond, trying to encourage people to sign up to the organ donor register. I pay tribute to her.

When I took part in a television programme earlier this year, one of the guests was a mum whose very young daughter had died, and who had made the very important decision to allow her daughter’s organs to be provided for transplant. It was not an easy decision, but she said, “I had to ask myself the question: if it was the other way round and I was a mother with a child in need of a transplant, would I want that to happen? At this very emotional time, trying to cope with all my feelings and my hurt and anger at losing my daughter, how could I do something positive, or allow something positive to come out of this sad situation?” That probably echoes many of the conversations we have with family, friends and constituents.

I sincerely hope that we can ensure that the Bill is on the statute book as soon as possible. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland Central said, the talking must not stop. People can go on the register today or tomorrow, but the talking must take place within families as well. Too often, when people signed up to be on the register, that conversation did not take place, and on too many occasions families dealing with the tragedy of losing a loved one override their loved one’s wishes. Let us ensure that the conversation does not stop with proceedings today, and certainly does not stop when the Bill becomes law. I commend everyone on the Committee and beyond for the positive contribution they have made.

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