New Organ Donation System Has Saved Lives
Fifteen people donated their organs in the first two months after a new soft opt-out system for organ donation was introduced in Wales, new figures released today show.
Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford today urged families in Wales to continue talking about their organ donation decisions.
The figures show that of the 15 people who donated their organs during December 2015 and January 2016, six had their consent deemed because they had not registered a decision to either opt in or opt out of becoming an organ donor.
Professor Drakeford said:
“In the first two months, 15 people in Wales have donated their organs, six of whom had their consent deemed.
“The change in the organ donation system has made it easier for people to donate their organs and ended a very anxious wait for many people who are waiting for a transplant.
“However, it is important for everyone in Wales to talk to their loved ones about their organ donation decisions and to register it – whether it is to opt in or out – on the organ donation register.
“Sharing your decision with your family and loved ones can help in the rare event that your family should ever have a conversation about organ donation with healthcare professionals.”
Since 2010, more than 150 people in Wales have died while waiting for an organ transplant. The new system, which came into effect on 1 December 2015, has been designed to make it for people to become an organ donor, and reflects what the majority of people in Wales say they want.
Nine out of 10 people in Wales support organ donation but only three out of 10 people have recorded a decision on the organ donor register. The new system could help increase the number of donors in Wales by 25% and save or transform the lives of around 45 people each year.
The new system – known as soft opt out or deemed consent – allows people who want to be an organ donor to either register a decision to opt in or do nothing. For those who choose to do nothing, if they are 18 or over, have lived in Wales for more than 12 months and also die in Wales, they will be regarded as having consented to organ donation.
People who do not want to be an organ donor can register their decision to opt out at any point during their lifetime.
Healthcare professionals handle discussions with families sensitively. In practice, if relatives are extremely distressed at the prospect of donation – even if the deceased person had consented to organ donation, or had made no decision – then donation would be very unlikely.
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