Wales votes for 'presumed consent' organ donation

July 3, 2013

Wales will become the first country in the United Kingdom to adopt an organ and tissue donation scheme based on presumed consent after assembly members voted in favour of a bill on Tuesday.

The opt-in system currently in place across the UK relies on people signing up to a voluntary scheme and carrying a donor card.

But the Welsh government wants to introduce a system in which individuals will be presumed to have consented after death unless they specifically object during their lifetime.

Members of the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff voted 43 to eight in favour of the scheme, which is on course to come into force by 2015.

The Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill aims to increase the number of organs and tissues available for transplant by introducing the so-called "soft opt-out" system.

Donation rates could increase by between 25 and 30 percent under such a system, says the government.

Richard Lewis, the British Medical Association's secretary in Wales, called the Bill "the most important piece of legislation created in Wales since the () laws of Hywel Dda.

The assocation was delighted that the Welsh National Assemby was showing the rest of Britain the way forward, he added.

"Patients across the country will now benefit directly or indirectly from this Bill."

But Clwyd West representative Darren Millar called for an independent evaluation of the scheme, warning of "unintended consequences".

"I'm opposed in principle to a system where becomes a passive act, and consent for it is presumed, or as the Bill puts it deemed, by the state," he said.

The new scheme offers three options: a person will be able to register to explicitly opt in to the new scheme or opt out of it. Where a person fails to express a preference he or she will be deemed to have given consent by taking no action.

Relatives will still be able to object to their family member's organs being donated.

Campaign charity the Kidney Wales Foundation (KWF) has hailed the new scheme saying it will increase the number of vital transplant donors.

"This consent law has had a positive and sizeable effect on organ of some 25 percent to 35 percent higher on average in deemed consent countries," said Roy Thomas, chief executive of the KWF.

"Currently only around a third of the Welsh population is on the organ donor register and this is around the same for the UK as a whole."

Explore further: Presumed consent not answer to solving organ shortage in US, researchers say

Related Stories

Presumed consent not answer to solving organ shortage in US, researchers say

November 29, 2011
Removing organs for transplant unless person explicitly opts out of donation before death not best way to address scarcity, raises sticky ethical questions.

Significant variation in organ donations across all 4 UK countries

October 3, 2011
There are significant variations in the number and type of organ donations made across all four UK countries, reveals research published online in BMJ Open.

Recommended for you

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

Best of Last Year – The top Medical Xpress articles of 2016

December 23, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—It was a big year for research involving overall health issues, starting with a team led by researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health who unearthed more evidence that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.