24/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 09:01

Kidney Wales Foundation launches donor campaign

Category: Wales

Published: 10th May 2010 13:30:47

A campaign asking people across the UK to back an opt-out organ donation system has been launched by a Welsh charity.

The assembly government announced plans last year for Welsh residents to be presumed organ donors unless they or their relatives object.

Now the Kidney Wales Foundation is calling for the rest of the UK to follow the proposals.

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.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has backed Wales' proposed opt-out system during the assembly government's consultation on the plan.

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

Helena Jones, 77, of Glynneath in Neath Port Talbot, strongly supports the foundation's campaign for an opt-out system after four of her five children underwent kidney transplants.

She said it was important the rest of the UK followed Wales.

"I think it's brilliant but is it going to work if the whole of the country doesn't join?" she said.

"None of my children have had their transplants in Wales. I would like to see the whole of the UK do it.

"Maybe if Wales goes first, the rest of the UK will follow."

Her daughter Helen's new kidney actually came from Barcelona in Spain, she added.

She said she was hugely grateful to the people who were willing to donate their organs and give her children a new lease of life.

"What I would say to people is that although it's very, very hard, people die every day," she said.

"If you could see my children now and how grateful I am getting my children back their lives, it's brilliant.

"People who say 'yes' to organ donations - they're my heroes."

However, there has been some opposition to the opt-out system being introduced in Wales.

Jonathan Morgan AM, a former chair of the assembly health committee, has said it was preferable for people to opt in rather than for the government to "presume you have no objection because you have not made any utterance about it".

"I don't think it is acceptable for the government to make a presumption about what your beliefs and views are," he said.

Roy J. Thomas, chairman of Kidney Wales, said "the time has come" for a change in attitudes to organ donation.

"Despite decades of campaigning, only 28% of people have joined the organ donor register in the UK - yet study after study shows that most people would wish to donate their organs," he said.

"The reality is that people in the UK are dying at a rate of three per day. This switch will save lives.

"Wales has moved first, now we thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the UK to follow suit."

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BBC News, 2010. Kidney Wales Foundation launches donor campaign [Online] (Updated 10th May 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/58347/Kidney-Wales-Foundation-launches-donor-campaign [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]

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