Organ Donation Consent Rates in Wales Highest in UK

New data has revealed for the first time a significant increase in the number of people consenting to organ donation.

Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths is a passionate supporter of the Welsh Government’s pioneering ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation and believes the latest figures point to an increasing number of people becoming aware of the changes to the law.

Consent rates to organ donation are measured by two main categories – donation after brain stem death and donation after circulatory death – and the latest figures show both have experienced substantial increases, particularly when compared to other areas of the UK.

When both categories are combined, it means the total consent rate in Wales now stands at over 80%.  In England the figure is 66.2%; in Scotland 63.6% and in Northern Ireland its 66.7%.

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 not 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 said: “These latest figures suggest the Welsh Labour Government’s flagship organ donation legislation is starting to take effect and help make a real difference.”

“More and more people are becoming aware of the new law’s implications, however, there is still work to be done.  It remains vital people have a conversation with their loved ones surrounding their views and wishes on organ donation.  Never having discussed organ donation could make an already difficult time more stressful for families.”