Thursday, December 15, 2011

Organ donation in Wales

Will Wales change from opt-in to opt-out on deceased organ donation? The discussion continues...

Presumed consent organ donation to be Welsh law by 2015
"The Welsh government says it plans to have a new law in place for presumed consent of organ donation by 2015.

"The legislation would require people to opt out of donating their organs when they die, rather than opting in by signing the donor register.
"Opponents say they do not believe it will work and it will hit trust in the system but supporters claim it will save more lives.

"The Welsh government has told the BBC Wales Politics Show that it is planning a system of "soft" presumed consent where family members would still be consulted after a person's death."

Drop organ law says Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan
"The Archbishop of Wales is urging the Welsh Government to ditch plans for presumed consent for organ donation."

A call has been made for more research into presumed consent for organ donation as Wales is poised to become the first part of the UK to adopt it.
"A University of Ulster team has found Wales consistently supplies more donors and donations than other UK nations.

"But they say that laws on presumed consent across Europe show mixed results and need further research.

"Presumed consent campaigners say they have raised awareness of the issue, but opponents warn that it could backfire.

"The Ulster team analysed data from NHS Blood & Transplant for all four UK countries between 1990 to 2009, and compared data on registration and donation from other European countries.

The research found that Wales "consistently outperformed" its UK neighbours, both in terms of the percentage of people registered and its organ donation rate, which had been higher than the UK average for most of the past 20 years.

"The authors recommended more research on the issue of presumed consent, which would mean people would have to opt out of becoming donor, or their organs may be used.

The Welsh government is proposing to introduce the system with a proviso that family members should be consulted.

"The idea has the support of bodies like the Kidney Wales Foundation, but it has been criticised by some, such as the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, who said organs should be donated as a gift and not as an "asset of the state."

"Spain was found to have doubled organ donation rates with a such a system of "soft" presumed consent, but Sweden - which presumes consent - had a similar rate to Germany and Denmark where informed consent operates, as in the UK.

"Further exploration of underlying regional differences and temporal variations in organ donation, as well as organisational issues, practices and attitudes that may affect organ donation, needs to be undertaken before considering legislation to admit presumed consent," the report says.

"Comparison of EU nations, and particularly Spain, indicates that improvement of organ donation rates is unlikely to be achieved by introducing new legislation alone."

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