Wales to introduce 'presumed consent' for organ donation

Wales to introduce 'presumed consent' for organ donation

Wales is to become the first country in the UK where people will be presumed to have consented for their organs to be donated unless they opt out.

The current system, which operates across the UK, relies on people signing up to a voluntary scheme and carrying a donor card.

But ministers in Cardiff Bay, keen to drive up low transplant rates, say the new scheme will save countless lives.

And this evening, a Bill for Wales to adopt a system of presumed consent passed its final stage in the Welsh Assembly – despite objections from religious groups on moral grounds as well as concerns about it adding greater distress to bereaved family members.

Assembly members voted in favour of the Bill by 43 votes to eight, with two abstentions.

The Welsh Government has long said there is a desperate need to drive up transplantation rates – with 226 people in Wales waiting for a transplant – and hope it would increase donors by around a quarter.

The new consent law would mean that people would have to choose not to donate their organs and would apply to over-18s who die in Wales if they have lived in the country for more than 12 months.

Organs made available under the system would be the same as the “opt-in” method – including kidneys, heart, liver, lungs and pancreas – and would not only go to donor patients in Wales. They could go anywhere in the UK.


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