The work of former First Minister Rhodri Morgan in launching the debate that saw Wales become the first country in the UK to introduce an ‘opt out’ system for organ donation is to be acknowledged in a new research fellowship. The Rhodri Morgan Life Ethics Fellowship will offer an opportunity to investigate ethics involving paediatric organ donation, transplantation and dialysis.
The Fellowship will commemorate the work of The Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan as a Member of Parliament, Assembly Member, First Minister of Wales, Chancellor of Swansea University and as Patron of Kidney Wales. It will be launched at the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, on Wednesday 18 October, sponsored by his great friend and political ally Jane Hutt AM.
Funded by Kidney Wales with the College of Human and Health Sciences of Swansea University and Wales Kidney Research Unit, the Fellowship is designed to access expertise from around the world in a bid to expand knowledge and experience for the benefit of Wales and those donating or receiving a human organ or on dialysis. It is open to anyone living or working in Wales and offers an opportunity to travel to countries such as North America and South Africa.
The subject of the Fellowship was chosen in consultation with Rhodri’s widow Julie Morgan AM, who will be part of the Appointment Panel, together with Mark Drakeford AM, who was Health Minister at the time the new legislation passed into law.
Julie Morgan said: ‘Rhodri was always committed to organ donation. He felt organ donation was the biggest single gift anyone could make as a private citizen to the health service and, of course, to help another person have a normal life again.’
Jane Hutt said: ‘This Fellowship is a wonderful way to remember Rhodri. During his time as First Minister, Rhodri kick started the debate on the new legislation on organ donation which saw Wales become the first country in the UK to introduce deemed consent – something he was very proud of.’
Prof Roy Thomas of Kidney Wales said: ‘We are delighted to be launching this Fellowship. The discussions on organ donation were the largest bioethical debates in the UK. Devolution provided an opportunity for Welsh people from the Church to the Media to discuss life ethics. This Fellowship in Rhodri’s name allows us to continue important ethical debates.’
• The launch of The Rhodri Morgan Life Ethics Fellowship, sponsored by Jane Hutt AM, will take place on Wednesday 18 October, 12-1pm, in Conference Room B, Tŷ Hywel, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay.