20/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 00:35

Wales seeks organ opt-out powers

Category: Wales

Published: 18th Dec 2009 13:04:52

Wales could become the first part of the UK introduce an opt-out system of organ donation under plans by the assembly government.

It would mean that Welsh residents would be presumed to be organ donors unless they have joined an opt out register or immediate relatives object.

Other exclusions include if a person's identity or place of residence cannot be confirmed.

The move is aimed at boosting organs available for transplants.

The so called 'soft opt-out' system is similar to that already used in Belgium and Portugal, where organ donation rates are far higher than in the UK.

During the assembly government's consultation the British Medical Association (BMA) had called for an opt out system.

It said an estimated 30 people died waiting for organ transplants in Wales in a year.

In a written cabinet statement released on Friday, Health Minister Edwina Hart said: "I have made clear that I am personally in favour of presumed consent as a way of increasing organ donation.

"However, I recognise that this is a sensitive and emotive subject.

"That is why I have wanted to spend time ensuring we gauged people's views before coming to a conclusion."

She said during public consultation she had specifically asked the public if the assembly government should move forward with a proposed legislative change in Wales.

"The majority of responses supported a change to the organ donation system in Wales to a soft opt-out system," she added.

"Cabinet colleagues have agreed with my proposal to explore the possibility of introducing a soft opt-out system for organ donation in Wales and that a bid for a Legislative Competence Order [a so-called Welsh law] be submitted.

"This will take time to achieve so we must continue to do all we can to raise awareness of this issue and encourage people to sign up to the organ donation register."

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BBC News, 2009. Wales seeks organ opt-out powers [Online] (Updated 18th Dec 2009)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/5457/Wales-seeks-organ-opt-out-powers [Accessed 20th Apr 2014]

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