Melanie Wager the Patient Advocate at Kidney Wales Foundation will be a guest on Radio 4 tonight – the Moral Maze 20:00 on BBC Radio 4

Melanie Wager said “It is all about a progressive change in the law and in our systems in the NHS. A number of parts of the UK are looking at what is going on Wales. I am looking forward to participating in the debate. The moral and ethical debate must keep the end in mind and why we need to change. More organs saves lives and affects families and carers. Currently three people die a day in the UK waiting. The UK has one of the lowest donor rates in Europe.”

Mrs Wager emphasised “Is it moral or right to allow patients to wait with no hope because our systems and laws do not work? Such systems and laws work in other countries.”

Mrs Wager added further “We all need wisdom to hold these difficult decisions together in the right balance and facts in explaining why we do what we do. Wales is leading the way on a change on the law on organ donation.”

Roy J Thomas Chairman of Kidney Wales said “Melanie is fully aware of what is like and how cruel it is to wait for a transplant and can first hand put the patient perspective in real terms. I emphasise it is morally cruel to see patients waiting .Many find it difficult to talk about it. Many are just surviving and hoping that one day the Government and the NHS will come to the rescue.”

Kidney Wales also made comment today on elective or interventional ventilation which is the use of artificial ventilation in a patient who is close to death from severe brain damage for the purpose of protecting the organs for donation rather than for the benefit of the patient him or herself.

Roy J Thomas said “Our main aim currently as a Charity is to change the Opt out legislation in Wales and the UK. The issue of elective or interventional ventilation requires further debate but we believe in Kidney Wales that that certain principles must be followed. There must not be any doubt on the proper treatment of those who are dying and no harm must be done to them. “

Mr Thomas added “We would welcome a discussion on elective or interventional ventilation but it must be open and honest with all parties involved. The current law must be respected. It is very important to have the confidence of the public at all times as has been obtained with the people of Wales on a change in Government and cross party policy to soft opt out. “

Kidney Wales is clear from countless studies and evidence from other countries across the world that Opt Out does indeed save lives. The Welsh Government is leading the way with this and has been consulting with the Welsh public who have shown overwhelming support for such a change since it was first proposed in 2008. It is hoped that an Opt Out system will be operational in Wales by 2015.

Kidney Wales believes that the rest of the UK should follow Wales’ proactive efforts to tackle the chronic shortage of organs and to end the horrible wait for patients on the organ donation waiting list.


For further information and interviews, contact Tristan Williams on 07715954498 / 029 2034 3940