The Kidney Wales Foundation welcomes yesterday’s announcement (October 22) by the Health Minister Edwina Hart of a series of debates to gather public opinion on whether Wales should introduce a system of presumed consent.

Roy J. Thomas, Chairman of the Kidney Wales Foundation and Donate Wales Campaign, said: We know that a large percentage of people in Wales support organ donation, yet there remains a desperate shortage of donors.

We in Wales can and must continue to take the lead in addressing this shortage and we welcome the Minister’s encouraging steps to do so by engaging the public in the biggest ethical debate the Assembly has faced since the arrival of devolved government in our country.

The desperate shortage of donors means that those waiting for a transplant face the reality of having to wait years before getting that second chance a transplant could give them.

Kidney Wales believes the introduction of a system of presumed consent, with the general public’s support, coupled with more efficiencies in acute hospitals and more donor co-ordinators would lead to many more lives being saved thanks to the gift of the donor.

This system has been proven to help save and transform thousands of lives in other European countries where it has already been adopted. In Spain, for example, deceased organ donor rates are much greater with around 35 donors per million population compared to just 12 in the UK.

A total of 437 people in Wales are listed for a kidney transplant.

Pictured above: Robert Edwards with the Health Minister Edwina Hart AM MBE, after more than two-and-a-half years waiting, Robert finally underwent a kidney transplant thanks to the kindness and generosity of a donor. He is now living the normal life he and his family had dreamt of for so long.

Words cannot express our gratitude to Robert’s donor and their family. They have transformed his and our lives, said Robert’s mum Jayne.