Health and Social Care Committee


The proposed organ donation bill is "horrible" and is "based on a falsehood", according to Joyce Robins from Patient Concern.

She was giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee on 7 February 2013.

Ms Robins argued strongly against the introduction of presumed consent as an alternative to the current opt-in system, on the basis that not opting out does not equate to giving consent.

"My problem with this bill is that it's based on a falsehood," said Ms Robins.

"You would be pretending that you have agreement when you have no such thing."

Committee chair Mark Drakeford challenged her view, arguing that "the way we navigate our daily lives is on the basis of deemed consent".

Ms Robins rejected this, claiming that there are "no parallels" between daily examples of consent being presumed and the state assuming that people are willing to donate their organs without permission being explicitly given.

She also raised concerns that mistakes could occur, saying that "it may well be that after organs have been removed, family members will come up with evidence that should have been considered which shows a person didn't want those organs removed".

"The media will blow it up like mad.

"If this goes through and mistakes are made, things will be very bad."

Members of religious group also gave evidence to the committee.

The Reverend Aled Edwards and Geraint Hopkins from Cytûn -Churches Together in Wales, Saleem Kidwai from the Muslim Council of Wales, the Reverend Carol Wardman from the Church in Wales and Stephen Wigley from the Methodist Church in Wales all objected to the introduction of an opt-out system of consent.

They all expressed their religions' support towards encouraging organ donation but felt that consenting to give organs should be a conscious individual choice.

According to Mr Hopkins: "The positive ethos of donation as a gift is under threat from an ill-judged but well intentioned move from organ donation to presumed consent."

Mr Kidwai explained that although the Koran states that "whoever saves a life saves mankind in its entirety" and that the overwhelming majority of Muslim scholars deem it worthy to donate, some Muslims are very uncomfortable with the proposals and so he could not support them.

Professor John Saunders, who chairs the Royal College of Physicians' Committee for Ethical Issues in Medicine, also gave evidence to the committee.

He said that he was "broadly supportive" of the measure, but that it should be called deemed consent as opposed to presumed consent because "the concept of presumed consent is nonsensical".

Darllenwch hwn yn Gymraeg

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