Rise in number of lives saved or improved by an organ transplant

1 Sep 2016 02:40 PM

New figures showing a rise in the number of people living in Wales whose lives were saved or improved by an organ transplant have been welcomed by Health Secretary Vaughan Gething.

The latest Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report, the first time this report has been published since the introduction of opt out registration and deemed consent in Wales, shows that over the last financial year:

  • the number of patients residing in Wales whose lives were saved or improved by an organ transplant increased by 24% to 214 (figure for 2014/15 was 173 which represents an increase of 41)
  • a 7% increase in the number of deceased donors donating in Wales to 64 (was 60 in 2014-15)
  • the number of donors after brain death increased by 13% to 36 (was 32 in 2014-15), while the number of donors after circulatory death remained the same at 28
  • the number of living donors residing in Wales increased by 20% to 49
  • 136 patients residing in Wales had their sight restored through a cornea transplant, representing an increase of 5%.

Wales became the first part of the UK to change the organ donation system when it introduced a soft opt-out system. People aged 18 and over who have lived in Wales for more than 12 months and who die in Wales will now be regarded as having consented to organ donation unless they have opted opt. This is called deemed consent.

People who want to be an organ donor can register a decision to opt in or do nothing, which will mean they have no objection to being an organ donor. Those people who do not want to be organ donor can opt out at any time.

The release of the data comes ahead of the Organ Donation campaign Week which runs from the 5th September until the 10th September.

The campaign is focused on getting 18 – 34s to discuss their organ donation decision (Time to Talk) and reminding adults across Wales of their options under the new system and what they mean. An e-mail and a direct mail will be sent to all students who have accepted a place to study in Wales through UCAS but live outside of Wales.

Vaughan Gething said yesterday:

“An increase in the number of people having their life saved or improved by an organ transplant is good news.

“Much of the data in today’s report is positive for Wales, showing things are moving in the right direction; but there’s still work to do. We know from today’s figures that 192 patients were waiting for a transplant at the end of March 2016 and 24 patients died while on the active waiting list for their transplant.

“I want to encourage everyone across Wales to talk with their loved ones about their organ donation wishes and that’s why our Time to Talk campaign is so very important.

“While we know awareness and understanding is increasing, it’s really important we reach the Welsh public on this issue,  and especially as the new academic year approaches and new students come to Wales to study, they understand how the organ donation process works in Wales.”