Currently three people in the UK die every day as a result of a shortage of donor organs. Wales have decided to attempt to improve these statistics by becoming the first UK nation to give the green light to an opt-out system where consent will be presumed.
Joining the Organ Donor Register is quick and easy yet, although two-thirds of people say they wish to donate their organs following their death, only 31% of people have actually joined the register. Wales are looking to follow in the foot-steps of other countries, such as Spain, who have employed an opt-out system of organ donation through which consent is presumed.
The Welsh Assembly has voted to pass a Bill which will allow hospitals to take organs from people who die unless they have specified that they would not like this to happen. The Bill was passed overwhelmingly by forty-three votes to eight, with two abstentions.
Families will, however, still play a role in organ donation and they are to have a “clear right of objection”. This will provide them with the opportunity to show that the deceased would not have wanted to donate their organs.
There has been lots of discussion regarding this issue from religious groups and medical professionals, as well as the wider community.
By Ruth Eardley