OPT OUT SYSTEM WOULD FURTHER INCREASE DONATION AND TRANSPLANTATION RATES – KIDNEY WALES RESPONSE TO NHSBT REPORT

Kidney Wales welcomes figures announced in today’s (04/11/10) NHSBT Annual Activity Report showing increased organ donation and transplantation rates across the UK for 2009/10. However more needs to be done to end the wait for transplant patients.

The report shows a 5% increase in transplants carried out in the UK last year, but there are 444 people still waiting for an organ transplant in Wales and this is a very conservative figure. We would estimate the real figure is around 850. The introduction of a UK-wide Opt Out organ donation system would save countless more lives.

Roy J Thomas, Chairman of Kidney Wales and Donate Wales said: “A recent study published in The British Medical Journal showed that if Opt Out had been in place in the UK nearly 20,000 lives could have been saved and transformed in the last decade*.

“Wales is leading the way with Opt Out but we need the rest of the UK to follow suit to save more lives.

“The number of patients waiting for transplants continues to increase year on year. Along with an average yearly increase in patients diagnosed with Kidney Disease of 10%, the need continues to outweigh the number of available organs.

“Despite years of campaigning, the number of people on the Organ Donor Register remains low at 28% although we know that over two thirds are willing to donate. Introducing a Soft Opt Out system of Organ Donation would increase the number of available organs by up to 50%”

ENDS

English and Welsh language case studies and spokespeople are available:

NOTES TO EDITOR

* BMJ article: S Bird and J Harris Time to move to presumed consent for organ donation. British Medical Journal, BMJ 2010;340:c2188

1. Kidney Wales has campaigned for a number of years to change the law in the UK. Under the favoured

Kidney Wales system of Soft Opt Out Welsh residents are presumed to be organ donors on death unless:

• They have joined an opt out register

• 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. Nearly 444 people in Wales are waiting for a transplant, across the UK 10,000 people are.

3. A short Q and A on opt out organ donation is attached with more information available on www.optforlife.org

ABOUT THE KIDNEY WALES FOUNDATION

www.kidneywales.com

Established in 1967, Kidney Wales has had over forty years of success in supporting and working with kidney patients in Wales. During this time the charity has supported many aspects of kidney patient care in Wales including transplantation, dialysis, research and patient welfare. Kidney Wales played a major role in getting an organ donor card attached to driving licences in the UK and was instrumental in setting up Lifeline Wales – a computer register of people willing to be organ donors in the event of their death.

In 2007 Kidney Wales launched the ‘People Like Us’ campaign, which put renal patients centre stage as they articulated their vision on how Wales could become a world class provider of renal services . With over 444 people waiting for a transplant in Wales, a chronic shortage of organs and increasing demand, People Like Us had three key suggestions for how to save lives:

• delivering a new dedicated transplant unit for Wales;
• working with partners to deliver a substantial increase in donors; and
• introducing legislation in Wales for Soft Opt Out / Presumed Consent.

All three of these objectives have been met with positive responses from the Welsh Assembly Government and National Assembly for Wales.

The Kidney Wales Foundation also organises the organ donation campaign in Wales; working with six other charities and the British Medical Association to encourage more people to join the organ donor register.
www.donatewales.orgOPT OUT SYSTEM WOULD FURTHER INCREASE DONATION AND TRANSPLANTATION RATES