New opt-out system for organ donation in Wales

After two years of consultation, the Welsh government today introduced the Human Transplantation Wales Act coming into force on December 1 2015. The new act is based on the assumption of consent with regard to organ donation. As such, Welsh long-term residents are being automatically registered as organ donors and have to explicitly opt-out in case they do not wish to be registered. 

  • While 9 out of 10 people in Wales currently support organ donations, only 33% are officially registered as organ donors.
  • In 43% of the cases, where donation would have been possible, family members opted against it, since they were uncertain about their loved one’s last wish.

The new system is supposed to simplify and clarify the decision process with regard to organ donation and also ease the situation for family members. Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services, supported the new law as follows: “December 1 2015 will see Wales become the first country in the UK to introduce a soft opt-out system for organ donation. We hope this new law will help save more lives by transforming attitudes towards consent to organ donation here in Wales.“

Further information can be found here.

Source: Organ Donation Wales, the Welsh Government