HEALTH Secretary Andrew Lansley has called for more people to join the Organ Donor Register – but has opposed calls for an “opt-out” donation system.

Mr Lanlsey, who took office last month as part of the coalition Government, said he wanted as many people as possible to join the register and said initiatives launched in 2008 had helped boost the number of donors.

But he said those moves should be allowed time to be “worked through fully”, before the system was changed again.

The stance will disappoint those who have called for Britain to move from its current “opt-in” system to an “opt-out” one, in which it is presumed that a person’s organs can be used when they die unless they have explicitly objected in advance.

Our Lifesavers campaign has called for the issue to be re-examined, and York Central MP Hugh Bayley has vowed to lobby for a fresh debate in Parliament.

Mr Lansley said: “I believe that as many people as possible who need a replacement organ should be given the opportunity to benefit from an organ transplant. In 2008, the independent Organ Donation Taskforce examined the case for moving to an opt out or presumed consent system. It recommended against it and concluded that whilst such a system might have the potential to deliver benefits, it would present significant difficulties which might not bring about, the desired increase in organ donation rates.

“The Taskforce made a number of recommendations, of which increasing the number of donor coordinators in hospitals was one.

“Since the implementation of these recommendations, almost a million more people have now signed up to the organ donation register.

“We need to give time for the recommendations to be worked through fully and assess their success before looking to change the system further.”