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BHF - UK should follow Wales’ opt-out organ donation lead

The Welsh Government has unveiled important plans to change the country’s organ donation system.

The proposed legislation outlines how an opt-out system for organ and tissue donation will work and sets out a four-year timetable. The changes mean unless an individual or their family says otherwise, their organs and tissues will be available for donation after their death. 

At the moment, people need to join the organ donor register to express their wish to donate. Moving to an opt-out system will increase the number of organs available for transplantation.

Currently, heart transplants are the only effective treatment available for critically ill heart failure patients, but unfortunately there is a shortage of donor hearts. Sadly this means that many people die whilst waiting on the list, or become too ill to receive a transplant.

An opt-out system would better reflect the wishes of the majority of people and fill the void between good intention and action

Maura Gillespie, BHF's Policy and Advocacy Manager, said: “Wales has taken a substantial and significant step towards implementing a proven system that will see more heart patients receive the organs they need to stay alive.

“The UK’s other Governments should take a careful look at these legislative blueprints which show, with proper infrastructure and training for doctors, an opt-out system would prove to be the difference between life and death for many families.

“In reality, nine in 10 of us support organ donation and yet fewer than three in 10 have joined the register. An opt-out system would better reflect the wishes of the majority of people and fill the void between good intention and action.”

A proposed timetable shows an opt-out organ donation Bill could be introduced into the National Assembly for Wales next year with the new system implemented in 2015.

 

 

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