AMs vote for opt-out organ donation system

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Wales will become the only UK country with an opt-out organ donation system after politicians voted on 2 July 2013 to change the law.

The Welsh government will proceed to introduce a system where individuals will be presumed to have consented for their organs to be donated after death unless they have specifically objected.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford said it was "an historic day for Wales" which had "demonstrated the huge strengths of this assembly".

"Wales is a progressive nation and this is a progressive policy for that progressive nation," he said.

Mr Drakeford assured AMs that the Welsh government had already committed to reviewing the new system five years after it became law.

There were 43 in favour, 2 abstentions and 8 against.

The 30-strong Labour group in the assembly was whipped to vote in favour of the bill. Conservative and Plaid Cymru AMs had a free vote.

The Lib Dems said all five of their AMs are in favour of presumed consent.

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, commented that "this historic change to presumed consent will mean there are more organs available for people waiting for a transplant and that there will be fewer people dying unnecessarily".

The Conservative spokesperson on health, Darren Millar AM, said in a personal capacity that "deemed consent represents a significant and controversial departure from the current system and there are a number of anxieties that must continue to be scrutinised and appropriately addressed".

Mr Millar warned that evidence from Chile, since it had introduced such a system, showed that it could result in a fall in the number of organ donors.

Conservative AM Byron Davies said it was wrong that the Bill gave no role for the views of loved ones when the views of the deceased were not known. He backed amendments giving the family more say.

"Families, who know us better than the state, should be able to intervene and prevent donation," he insisted.

But Mr Drakeford said a "good deal of mischief" was being made over the role of the family.

He argued it was right that the family's role should be based on the known views of the deceased, not on the views of somebody "who maybe has had very little to do with that individual".

Plaid Cymru health spokesperson Elin Jones said: "The Organ Donation Bill is an important piece of legislation which is sure to save lives in Wales, research reveals that adopting a presumed consent system could increase donation rates by 25-35% in Wales."

She added that "Many years have passed since Plaid Cymru's former AM Dai Lloyd first brought this legislation before the Assembly, and it is good to see it at its final stage today".

Darllenwch hwn yn Gymraeg

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