Families Encouraged to “Have the Chat” About Organ Donation Wishes

The Welsh Government is emphasising the importance of talking to family and friends about organ donation.

Latest figures published by NHS Blood and Transplant have shown there were 21 cases last year where families either overrode their relatives’ decisions to donate organs, or didn’t support the deemed consent.

With an average of 3.3 organs retrieved per donor in the UK in 2016-17, this could have resulted in as many as 69 additional transplants.

In December 2015, Wales became the first country in the UK to move to a ‘soft opt-out’ system of consent to organ donation.  This means people who want to be an organ donor can either register a decision to opt in or do nothing.  For those who choose to do nothing, they are regarded as having agreed to organ donation – this is known as deemed consent.

Over the coming years, it is expected the change in the law will significantly increase the number of organs available for donation.  Its impact is already being felt as last year there was a decrease of 18.5% in patients who died whilst on the waiting list for their transplants.

Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, is a long-time supporter of the measures and said: “Wales has led the way in introducing this progressive legislation, which aims to change people’s perceptions and save lives.”

“Increasing the consent rate will have a significant impact on reducing transplant waiting lists.  Whilst the latest data suggests the legislation is already having a notable impact, it remains vitally important that people are aware and understand the law’s implications, and discuss their views and wishes with their loved ones.”

You can register a decision at any time by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visiting www.organdonationwales.org or by telling your family (and friends).