AMs pass organ donation bill

Welsh Assembly members have passed a law governing organ donation. IIt means Wales is now the only part of the UK where doctors will presume that consent has been given to donate organs after death.

Change in law could lead to more organs being available

The Kidney Wales Foundation says the current system is outdated and needs reform. They say that one person dies every week in Wales waiting for an organ transplant.

The UK is one of the lowest donor rate countries in Europe. The new Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill is a new progressive law. We are proud to have led the debate in favour of this law.

– Roy J Thomas, Chief Executive of Kidney Wales

Waiting for an organ is an extremely difficult time for anyone - it is like being on death row and it seems as if you are being further punished for being ill. Mentally, it is cruel for the patient and the caring family.

– Melanie Wagner, who received a new kidney in 2010

New organ donation law 'could backfire'

Faith leaders and some senior health professionals are calling on the Welsh government to amend the proposal to take more account of the wishes of bereaved families. They say 93% of people in Wales support a system where the family should be able to stop organs being taken if they object.

The signatories, including the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, and the Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff, George Stack, want ministers to support amendments to the Bill to ensure this 'soft opt-system' is in place.

Without it, they say, the law would be inhumane and uncaring of the feelings of relatives. It could also damage public trust and support when people fully realise the Bill's implications.

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Wales vote on organ donation

Operating theatre
Currently people must sign a register in order to donate organs Credit: Chris Ison PA Archive

Welsh assembly members are set to vote on a change to the law governing organ donation. If the legislation is passed Wales will become the only part of the UK where doctors will presume that consent has been given in favour of donation, without people signing a register.

The Welsh government says that the views of friends and relatives will still be taken into consideration, but religious leaders are concerned that this does not go far enough in giving bereaved relatives a say.

The current system relies on people making their wishes known, but only around 30% of the population are on the Organ Donor Register. Campaigners say the result of this is that potential donors are missed because families often do not know what their deceased relative would have wanted.

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