Wales challenges the rest of the UK to save lives by moving to an opt out organ donation system

The Kidney Wales Foundation has today launched a campaign asking people across the UK to back moves to an opt out organ donation campaign.

The Charity which led calls to move to an opt out system leading to the Welsh Assembly Government announcing in December 2009 that Wales would be the first part of the UK to move to such a system. Whilst Wales is able to move alone in changing systems, today’s call asks the rest of the UK to follow suit.

The First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones, told the Observer that he hoped opt-out could be in place before the Welsh Assembly elections next spring. “We have decided on soft presumed consent, where relatives can veto organ donation, because we want to make it as easy as possible,” he said.

“At the moment, if people are not carrying donor cards then it is presumed they didn’t want to be a donor. If we presume everyone does – unless certain conditions are met– we don’t want to be in a position where we are taking organs against the wishes of the family. There is no question of that.”

Roy J. Thomas, Chairman of Kidney Wales launched a report “Time to save lives: A soft opt out system for the UK to coincide with the campaign launch in it he said:

“The time has come for a change in our attitudes to organ donation in the United Kingdom. Despite decades of campaigning, only 28% of people have joined the organ donor register in the UK – yet study after study shows that most people would wish to donate their organs.

International experience shows that the most effective way to increase the number of organs donated is to move to an opt out system of organ donation. A position supported by most clinicians and the public.

The reality is that people in the UK are dying, at a rate of 3 per day. This switch will save lives. Wales has moved first, now we thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the UK to follow suit.”

People can add their support to the campaign at www.optingforlife.org

For more information or interviews contact Alison Goldsworthy. Director of Communications and Events on 029 2034 4940 or alison@kidneywales.com

Case studies and Welsh and English spokespeople available upon request

Notes to Editors

1. The Welsh Assembly announced in December 2009 that it would become the first part of the UK to move to a soft opt out organ donation system. This system proposes that for purposes of disease treatment Welsh residents are presumed to be organ donors on death unless:

They have opted out
They cannot be identified
The person’s place of residence cannot be identified
The wishes of the deceased can be proven to be contrary after relatives have been contacted
Immediate relatives object.

2. An article released this week in the British Medical Journal suggested that such a system would have led to an extra 2880 people donating organs in the last 10 years

3. For more information, please visit www.optingforlife.org Wales challenges the rest of the UK to save lives by moving to an opt out organ donation system

The Kidney Wales Foundation has today launched a campaign asking people across the UK to back moves to an opt out organ donation campaign.

The Charity which led calls to move to an opt out system leading to the Welsh Assembly Government announcing in December 2009 that Wales would be the first part of the UK to move to such a system. Whilst Wales is able to move alone in changing systems, today