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Wales introduces ‘deemed consent’ for organ donation

New system replaces ‘opt in’ with ‘opt out’ system to increase number of donations

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 01 December 2015

Wales is changing its organ donation system from today in an attempt to increase the number of organs available.

From 1 December, people aged 18 and over, who have lived in Wales for a year and died in Wales, will generally be regarded as having consented to organ donation on death unless they have specifically opted out.

A person will become a potential donor either by registering their decision to opt in - as they do currently - or by doing nothing at all, in which case their consent can be deemed. If families knew their loved one did not wish to be an organ donor, even if that person had not specifically opted out, they will still be able to tell doctors and donation will not take place. The ‘opt in’ system remains in the rest of the UK.

It is hoped that the change in the law will increase the number of donors by 25%. In the past year, 14 people died whilst waiting for a transplant in Wales, while there are currently 224 people on the waiting list, including eight children.

In Wales more than one million people - 34% of the population - have registered to opt in and just 86,000 have opted out.

Organs harvested in Wales could be used elsewhere in the UK.

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