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Wales reject donor consent scheme

30th July 2008

Welsh Assembly Members have thrown out a plan to use a system of presumed consent to help provide more donor organs for transplant in Wales.

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Instead, it wants to see public sector bodies do more to encourage people to sign up as donors, either for organs or bone marrow.

The decision against presumed consent – where organs are automatically donated unless a person requests otherwise - was made by the health, wellbeing and local government committee, which voted against a proposal to apply for a Legislative Competence Order (LCO), which would give the assembly the power to bring in such a system.

The committee's report said: "We do not rule out introducing presumed consent in Wales at some point in the future. However, we do not believe that it is currently the most urgent priority and believe that it could be a distraction from other more productive actions."

The report recommended a soft version of presumed consent system, where loved ones were consulted and also called for review of Wales' transplant capacity.

However, the British Medical Association in Wales said the decision was a missed opportunity for Wales to take the lead on organ donation.

One of the committee members who voted for a presumed consent, Plaid Cymru's Dr Dai Lloyd, said: "There is no doubt that a system of presumed consent would produce a far higher potential donor rate than at present, which is far too low at 22%."

About 780,000 people are currently on the organ donor register in Wales.

 

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