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  1. ITV Report

More families giving consent for organ donation in Wales

Credit: PA

Support for the opt-out system of organ donation in Wales has increased since the two years it has been in place.

Members of the public, and NHS staff, are now more in favour of the system, an evaluation of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act has found.

However, unless adults in Wales have opted out, they are presumed to have consented to organ donation. Wales became the first UK country to move to a soft opt-out system of consent to organ donation in 2015.

85%
of staff are now in favour - up from 71% before implementation.
64.5%
of families gave consent for organ donation - up from 44.4%

In 2016/17, one more patient living in Wales received a cardiac transplant, while the number of people receiving a live kidney transplant increased by five.

However the Welsh Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, acknowledged the consent rise was not reflected in the number of donors overall.

He says organ donation levels need to keep increasing in order to reduce the number of people dying waiting for transplants.

I congratulate the healthcare professionals involved in making this a success however, none of what we have achieved would have been possible without the support of the Welsh population. I'm delighted that in the first two quarters of this year, our consent rate reached 72% putting us second in the UK, with 39% of the Welsh population registering as organ donors. While this is not reflected in a rise in donors overall, the report suggests this may be because there have been fewer eligible donors over the short period since the change in law. We must work harder to further increase organ donation levels while there are people dying waiting for their transplant and to have a significant impact on reducing those waiting lists.

– Vaughan Gething AM, Health Secretary

There has been an 18.5% decrease in the number of patients who died on the waiting list, data by NHS Blood and Transplant shows. 27 people died waiting for their transplant between 2015/16 whereas 22 died in 2016/17.

However, in the last year, families overrode their relatives' decisions to donate organs in 21 cases in Wales, or did not support the deemed consent.

This, a spokeswoman for the Welsh Government said, could have resulted in as many as 65 additional transplants.