NHS Blood and Transplants have today announced a record number of people on the UK Organ Donation Register of 18 million with the total number of Welsh residents up to 894,000 or 30% of the population – the biggest increase in the past four years.
Roy J Thomas Chair of Donate Wales and Kidney Wales said:
“We are delighted to see the figures announced today and the shift in Welsh people on the Organ Donor Register from 26.5% in 2007/8 when we started the Donate Wales campaign through our kidney patients and other charitable organisations and the BMA to the figure of 30%. We pay regard to the Welsh Government who, as in Scotland, funded the Welsh campaign Donate Wales and all who supported us. There are now 126,000 more people on the Organ Donor Register than when Donate Wales started. “
He added “In addition in Kidney Wales we believe that the pursuit of a change of law and the proposed Welsh Government’s Organ Donation Bill together with the new world class transplant facilities in University Hospital of Wales will provide patients waiting for a transplant with new hope. Wales is listening to their anguish. With the Wales Organ donation Implementation Group we have seen more donor coordinators appointed and all in all this is great progress.”
Although there has been an increase in people on the register, Wales still lags behind Scotland which has 37% of the population registered to donate.
Furthermore, over the past year, the number of patients dying in Wales whilst waiting for a transplant has increased from and average of one every 11 days to one person a week.
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Kidney Wales Foundation has been campaigning for over four years for a system of Soft Opt Out to be implemented in Wales.
Under the Kidney Wales favoured 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.
Wales would wish to follow the example of Belgium where the “soft” opt-out system was introduced in 1986. Just 2% of the population has opted out of organ donation – and the national rate of organ donation rose by 55% within five years.
The latest figures show that in Belgium there were 291 deceased organ donors in 2007 compared to only 51 in Wales – Belgium has one of the highest rates of donors per million people in the world.NHS Blood and Transplants have today announced a record number of people on the UK Organ Donation Register of 18 million with the total number of Welsh residents up to 894,000 or 30% of the population