Wales politics

Presumed consent organ donation to be Welsh law by 2015

The Welsh government says it plans to have a new law in place for presumed consent of organ donation by 2015.

The legislation would require people to opt out of donating their organs when they die, rather than opting in by signing the donor register.

A White Paper setting out a timetable is set to be published this week.

Opponents say they do not believe it will work and it will hit trust in the system but supporters claim it will save more lives.

The Welsh government has told the BBC Wales Politics Show that it is planning a system of "soft" presumed consent where family members would still be consulted after a person's death.

A spokesperson said: "We believe we should be progressive on this issue and follow the example of those countries with excellent records on organ donation, where an opt-out system is a key element.

"Introducing a soft opt-out system will mean people are more likely to make decisions about donation during their lifetime and to have discussed their wishes with their family."

It is thought that ministers will publish a White Paper later this week which will set out the legislative timetable.

Currently people have to opt to join the NHS organ donor register if they want to donate their organs and tissues after death.

Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, said he would be seeking time in Westminster to debate the issue.

Losing people

"I want to spend half an hour explaining in a considered way why this won't work," he said.

"It does not deliver but a fraction more organs.

"One of the real problems I've got with presumed consent is that it undermines trust.

"I don't mind moving towards a presumptive attitude because almost everybody is in favour of organ donation so it's reasonable to have a presumptive attitude.

"But if there's presumed consent, then there's a suspicion and I think that does affect trust."

But Roy Thomas, chairman of the Kidney Wales Foundation, claims it will increase the number of organs available for donation by up to 30 percent.

"[It] will solve a lot of issues for people who are waiting for a transplant," he added.

"We are losing one person each week here in Wales and that's a huge amount of people who are dying and we need to give them hope.

"I believe the Welsh government has got this absolutely right and are progressive. Indeed I think the rest of the UK will follow."

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