The Kidney Wales Foundation appreciates todays recommendation by the Health, Wellbeing and Local Government Committee to build upon the success of its Donate Wales Tell a Loved One campaign.
But with the number of people needing a transplant in Wales at an all time high it has called for further leadership in organ donation within Wales to address the problem.
Kidney Wales also notes that the report fell short of recommending further examination of the adoption of a system of presumed consent in Wales, and has called for a much wider public debate on the subject.
Roy J. Thomas, Chairman of the Kidney Wales Foundation and Donate Wales campaign, said: Wales must take the lead in addressing the issues surrounding the shortage of donors in Wales and not wait for decisions to be made by Taskforces in England and led by Whitehall.
The Welsh Assembly Government is aware of this, yet there was no mention in the Health Committee Report of Wales making its own stand. The Government has already taken significant steps by funding the Donate Wales campaign and procuring a dedicated Transplant Unit for Wales and we urge it to continue this dynamic approach to saving more lives.
Due to many factors including lifestyle the number of people needing a transplant in Wales is at an all-time high. In the last seven years those listed for a new organ has rocketed by 61% from 309 in December 2001 to 490 in July 2008.
In the last five years 150 people have died before getting that second chance a transplant could have given them, while many more face the reality of years on the waiting list.
The Donate Wales campaign was launched by Kidney Wales on May 13 and since then 11,512 people have joined the Organ Donor Register bringing the total figure to 791,543.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the shortage of donors and the importance of talking about organ donation. We are working closely with all communities in Wales, including black and Asian people who are three times more likely to need a kidney transplant.
We are also building partnerships with the public and private sector to make it even more convenient for those that want to help to join the Organ Donor Register.
We know that around 90% of people in Wales support organ donation, yet only 27% have acted on their good intentions and signed-up.
Since we launched the Tell a Loved One campaign, many people have told us that joining the Organ Donor Register has been something they have always wanted to do, but never got round to. The campaign has given these people the chance to take that extra vital step and just as importantly got more people talking about organ donation.
Currently four in ten families refuse for their loved ones organs to be donated often simply because they didn’t know what their wishes were. Only by talking about our donation wishes and joining the Organ Donor Register can more lives be saved.
To join the Organ Donor Register either text GIVE to 64118, visit www.donatewales.org or contact 0845 60 60 400.