Nudge and Organ Donation (Cross Post)

We are back to that bugbear, organ donation. From tomorrow if you are applying for a new or replacement driving licence, you have to answer a compulsory question regarding organ donation. The idea isn’t new. There was a question on the previous form. However it is now compulsory and as is usual for those who think it their place to rule us, our choices are somewhat limited.

They can say they would like to sign up there and then, that they are already on the register or that they would like to think about it on another occasion.

So, “no” isn’t actually an option and there are plenty for whom this is the appropriate response. If you choose the weasel worded “I’d like to think about it later,” will you be subjected to more nudges until you give the “right” answer? This isn’t nudge as proposed by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Their idea was simply that making the preferred choice be easier, not to effectively eliminate the non-preferred choice as hmg are busily doing. The Thaler Sunstein nudge would simply have the form at the beginning of the application process as is being adopted, but leave it there, still voluntary. Nudge done.

A similar question existed previously but it was optional and many applicants missed or ignored it.

And it’s quite possible that a significant number of those non respondents made a deliberate choice. I would have. If I want to go onto the organ donation register, I know where to find it. I choose not to. I do not see why I should be forced to advise the DVLA and by extension, the government. It is none of their concern.

I wonder if you can still get a paper version of the form from the local Post Office? What will they do if you don’t answer the questions on that? Send it back until you do?

The intention, said Chris Rudge, national clinical director for transplantation at the Department of Health, was to give people as many opportunities as possible to sign up.

I don’t have a problem with that in principle at all. Providing there is an option to say “no” and another option to refuse to answer the question.

“But I think we have to be a little bit cautious about not barraging people with this. If people are continually asked the same question, over and over again, you get irritated by it.”

I already am, old bean, I already am…

I have no particular objection to donating my organs, but will not put my name on the register –  primarily because of this type of hectoring. Should the situation arise, my next of kin are aware of my wishes and the medical team will have to do the decent thing and ask nicely.

This has been substantively cross posted from Longrider.

3 comments for “Nudge and Organ Donation (Cross Post)

  1. August 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I don’t have a problem with that in principle at all. Providing there is an option to say “no” and another option to refuse to answer the question.

    “But I think we have to be a little bit cautious about not barraging people with this. If people are continually asked the same question, over and over again, you get irritated by it.”

    I already am, old bean, I already am…

    Completely agree. It’s no different to Facebook, IMHO, in the sense that there are no options available. Wonder if you could opt out, if you inadvertently, by their tricky wording, opted in?

  2. August 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I’m only surprised the government wants to wait until we’re dead to get our organs. I mean, it owns us, after all.

  3. August 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Small steps. None of them is sufficient to start a revolution, but when we’ve taken them all, added them all up, we find ourselves where we never wanted to go.

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