A major campaign focusing on the role of families in the organ donation process has been launched by the Welsh Government.
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 three organs retrieved per donor in Wales last year, this could have resulted in as many as 65 additional transplants.
Back in December 2015, Wales became the first country in the UK to move to a soft opt-out system of consent to organ donation – meaning unless a person has not registered a decision to become an organ donor or a decision not to become an organ donor, they will be considered as having no objection to being an organ donor. 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.
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
Ms Griffiths 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.”