Organ donation law awareness campaign launched

A couple explain that without organ donations their daughter would not be alive

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A campaign to make people aware of changes in the law affecting organ donation after death is being launched.

In two years Wales will become the first UK nation to introduce a system where people will be presumed to have agreed for their organs to be donated.

The Welsh government hopes that a change in the law will increase transplant rates by 25%.

Between now and 1 December 2015 ministers want everyone in Wales to be made aware of the changes.

A website featuring the stories of families who have received and donated organs, as well as information about the changes to the law, has been launched.

As well as visiting the website First Minister Carwyn Jones wants families to let loved ones know of their wishes on organ donation.

Targeted groups

Start Quote

There are strands of our campaign which will give general information and there is a part which will target particular groups in the community”

End Quote Mark Drakeford Health Minister

Health Minister Mark Drakeford told BBC's Sunday Politics Wales that 35 people died in Wales on the organ donor waiting list last year and 200 were currently waiting.

"Our aim is that anyone who lives in Wales understands the new rules which come into force in December 2015," he said.

"There are strands of our campaign which will give general information and there is a part which will target particular groups in the community - faith groups, and black and minority ethnic communities who need transplantation more than the rest of the community but from where donations are lower."

Mr Drakeford said populations such as students would also be targeted to raise their awareness of the new organ donation rules.

"Students come to Wales from across the UK and over the time they live here they will be citizens of Wales as well," he said.

The minister said that in the meantime he wanted people to support the current organ donation scheme.

"At the end people can opt out, or in, or not do anything which will mean that permission is deemed to have been given [for organ donation]," Mr Drakeford added.

Despite the legislation being passed, Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies said he remained "very publicly opposed to what they are doing".

"I think it's a serious mistake not just for Wales but for the whole of Britain," he said.

"I'd rather see them focusing on more intensive care beds and more specialist nurses because these are the areas where they would make a real difference.

"But they are not going to do that and I think information is one part of what they can do. I think it'll be very limited, but I think it's a move in the right direction."

See more on this story onSunday Politics Wales on BBC One Wales at 11:00 GMT on Sunday, 1 December and the BBC iPlayerlater

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