The Alder Hey scandal has naturally undermined public support for organ donation.

The British Medical Association's instinctive response to the sad shortage of organs is to advocate an opt-out system. This presumes universal consent in the absence of individuals' formally recorded objection.

The approach seems very likely to prove counterproductive in a climate demonstrably shaken by the medical profession's apparent lack of consideration for patients' feelings and attitudes.

People badly need reassurance that their bodies will only be cut up with their specific permission. The situation cries out for leadership by example. The BMA should disclose the percentage of its members who carry a donor card. If this is less than 95 per cent, the public will draw its own conclusions.

Roger Goss Director Patient Concern London SW5