Organ donation opt-out law is saving lives in Wales

Number of transplantations has almost trebled this year

More lives are being saved through organ donations thanks to groundbreaking legislation, says the Welsh Government.

Organ donation
Opt-out law was introduced to address a shortage of donated organs in Wales. Picture: Alamy

Under a law that came into force in Wales in December, people who do not opt out of organ donation, are over 18 years old and have lived in the country for more than 12 months are regarded as having consented to donation.

Shortage of donated organs

Figures show that 10 out of 31 people who donated their organs between 1 December 2015 and 31 May 2016 had their consent deemed by default because they had not registered decisions to opt in or out of organ donation.

During this period, 60 organs were transplanted, of which 32 were from people who had neither opted in nor out. In the same period in 2014-15, 23 people donated their organs, while in 2013-14 over the same six-month period, 21 people donated organs. The law was introduced to address a shortage of donated organs in Wales.

Cabinet secretary for health, well-being and sport Vaughan Gething said: ‘I expect the system to create a step change in consent for donation in Wales.’

Family awareness

NHS Blood and Transplant organ donation specialist nurse for the south Wales region Lisa Morgan, said: ‘People are no longer surprised when we discuss donation with them, and 74% of the population is now aware they live in a country with an opt-out policy.’

Ms Morgan said specialist nurses have received in-depth training to help them understand the new legal framework.

‘It makes conversations with families easier. They are aware that if their family members did not opt out, they support donation.’

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