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Wales becomes first country in UK to introduce soft opt-out system for organ donation

Our health and social affairs correspondent Rob Osborne explains how the new system works

Wales has become the first country in the UK to introduce a soft opt-out system for organ and tissue donation.

The new law will now presume consent for people's organs and tissues to be donated unless they stipulate otherwise.

On top of this, it will mean a person's family and friends will have a significant role to play in the ultimate decision to donate an organ.

As of today, you can opt in to the organ donation register, opt out, or do nothing. Credit: ITV news

This means that each person has to make a choice:

  • Opt in: You can opt in and join the organ donor register
  • Opt out: You can opt out and say you're not prepared to have your organs donated
  • Do nothing: Or you can do nothing - where it's then presumed you're happy to donate.

According to the latest figures there are 224 people in Wales on the transplant waiting list.

With only a third of us having signed up to the organ donation register, people are dying waiting for a transplant.

Credit: ITV News
224
people in Wales are on the transplant waiting list
14
people died last year in Wales while waiting for a transplant

This is a day when we take a ground-breaking step in Wales, which will save lives. The latest figures show 14 people died last year in Wales while waiting for a transplant. The change to a soft opt-out system for organ donation will deliver a revolution in consent. Organ donation saves lives; increasing the rate of organ donation allows us to save more lives.

– Mark Drakeford AM, Health Minister

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