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Ireland to introduce opt-out organ donation

A public consultation will take place before the end of the summer on the matter of the introduction of the opt-out system of consent for organ donation. This system means that consent will be deemed unless the person has, while alive, specifically registered their wish not to become an organ donor after death. It has also been proposed that the next of kin will be consulted prior to removing any organ.

Minister Harris announced on Tuesday 11th July that the Government has approved the preparation of the General Scheme and Heads of a Human Tissue Bill, giving him the green light to move ahead with legislation for the opt-out system.Minister Harris described organ donation as being “among the most selfless acts we can bestow upon another person”.

“An opt-out system of consent for organ donation and accompanying publicity campaign will raise awareness among individuals and encourage discussion among families of their intentions in relation to organ donation.  In this way individuals can increase the chances that their organs might be utilised after their death, and can ensure that those left behind will have the satisfaction of knowing that their wishes were carried through”, he continued.

The Human Tissue Bill would also be implementing a key recommendation of the Madden Report on Post-Mortem Practices and Procedures; that no hospital post-mortem examination should be carried out and no tissue retained for any purpose whatsoever without authorisation. The Bill will regulate the handling of human tissue from a deceased person, provide general conditions for the removal, donation and use of organs and tissues from deceased and living persons for the purposes of transplantation, and provide for an opt-out system of consent for organ donation and for an associated register.

Vision assistance apps to improve the lives of the visually impaired

Two apps, developed to better improve the lives of the visually impaired have been launched by Novartis, in partnership with the NCBI. The ViaOpta Navigator app enables blind or vision impaired people to move independently by providing essential information to support orientation when walking. Similarly, ViaOpta Daily uses vocal guidance and audible tutorials to help with everyday activities.

Both apps provide cutting-edge technology that make a difference in the lives of those who live with visual impairment by giving them discreet assistance at the push of a button.

Loretto Callaghan, CPO Head for Novartis Ireland, stated: “Novartis is proud to continually support those living with visual impairment. We work tirelessly with organisations such as the NCBI to create patient-focused innovative solutions to enhance the lives of many here in Ireland.” Chris White, NCBI CEO, commented on the benefits of the apps, saying: “With the help of the ViaOpta apps, people living with vision impairments can undertake everyday tasks confidently and independently. These upgraded apps signal yet another advancement for blind and vision impaired people and will help them enormously as they go about tasks like taking their dog out for a walk, shopping or going to a busy café.”