Summary of key findings:
- There has been a decline in public confidence in the way that the donation, removal, storage and use of human tissue or organs are regulated since 2010. Overall, half (49%) have a fair amount/great deal of confidence. This represents a decline in confidence of 8 percentage points since 2010.
- Confidence in health sector regulation in general is very similar to that of human tissue regulation. However the proportion of people reporting a lack of confidence in health regulation in general is much higher (40%) than those reporting a lack of confidence in human tissue regulation (22%).
- The decline in confidence is likely to reflect general concern among the public in relation to the NHS, especially in the light of recent scandals. For example, levels of confidence are lower in the West Midlands than overall.
- Knowing there is a regulator makes Britons more confident to donate their organs for transplant (53%), tissue for patient treatment (54%), tissue for medical research (51%), brain for research (46%) and whole body for education and training (43%).
- The proportion saying that they would not donate under any circumstances is relatively similar across all types of donation (ranging from 7% to 11%).
- The most frequently cited benefits of regulation was ‘stops bad practice from occurring’ (32%), ‘ensuring human tissue is not used at will or abused’ (11%), ‘knowing human tissue is safer for treatment’ (11%), ‘knowing people’s wishes will be respected’ (14%), ‘ensure tissue is not used for financial gain/commercial purposes’ (10%) and ‘more people will be willing to donate their organs and/or tissues for transplants’ (12%).
- As for the perceived drawbacks to regulation, the top mention was again ‘too much red tape,’ although fewer people mentioned it in 2013 (13% in 2010; 9% in 2013), while a fifth (19%) suggested that ‘there are no drawbacks’.
The report is available to download (PDF) with full statistics, conclusions and recommendations.