New Campaign Encourages Families to Talk About Organ Donation

The Welsh Government has launched a major new campaign focusing on the role of families in the organ donation process.

Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, has backed the hard-hitting advertisement which shows an individual’s choice to donate his organs being overridden by family members.

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

With an average of 3 organs retrieved per donor in Wales last year, this could have resulted in as many as 65 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.

However, if individuals don’t tell their family of their decision to donate, the family may not honour that decision and override the organ donor registration or not support deemed consent.

Lesley Griffiths AM is a long-time advocate of the measures and said: “The Welsh Labour Government led the way in introducing this progressive legislation, which ultimately aims to save people’s lives.”

“Increasing the consent rate will help reduce transplant waiting lists and although awareness and understanding of the legislation is increasing, there are still a significant number of people dying whilst waiting for their transplant.”

“Having a chat with family members about your organ donation wishes can not only help simplify an already distressing time, but help ensure more people in Wales and across the UK will have their lives transformed as additional organs become available.”

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).