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Wednesday 21st August 2019

Presumed consent for organ donation in Wales

7th November 2012

Concerns have been raised over the additional pressures that presumed consent for organ donation would put on Welsh hospitals.


Health economics Professor Ceri Phillips from Swansea University acknowledges there will be some benefits from the system – favoured by the Welsh government - where people will have to opt-out if they do not wish to donate their organs when they die.

But Professor Phillips fears there will be additional pressures on critical care beds and theatre time which would result in donated organs being wasted.

Professor Phillip told the BBC there could be long-term financial benefits to the opt-out system, such as savings on dialysis treatment for kidney patients, but it could add additional burdens on hospitals.

He said: “We can’t estimate when these potential donors will become available and we could well see a system where it is impossible to undertake the operation and the potential donor might not materialise and the beneficiary will not receive the benefits which the policy and the bill is seeking to ensure.”

John Saunders, a consultant who heads an organ donation committee at Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny, echoed those concerns and said for the system to work effectively more investment will be needed in intensive care facilities.

He also believes having an opt-in register running as well as opt-out could create confusion in public mind.

The Human Transplantation Bill is due to go before the assembly for approval in January 2013 and could become law in 2015.

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths says the new system would reduce waiting lists and save lives.


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