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19-06-2012 | Article

Welsh ‘opt out’ donor scheme billed


Welsh Government draft Bill Consultation

MedWire News: The Welsh government has published a draft consultation bill proposing a soft opt-out scheme for the donation of organ and tissue after death.

The draft Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill, proposed to come into effect in 2015, could result in an additional 15 organ donations per year by the creation of a single register allowing individuals to opt in or out of organ donation, with "deemed consent" for those who do not register a decision.

Deemed consent for organ donation would apply to all individuals aged 18 years and over living in Wales for 6 months or longer unless they have registered an objection to donation, or their family produces information indicating that the deceased did not wish to donate.

While family members would not have the legal right to veto donation or overrule the deceased's wishes, donation would not go ahead until after consultation with a family member, and would be unlikely to happen where family members have strong objections or distress.

"Express consent" for organ donation from a family member would be required for all other individuals dying in Wales, including children.

Commenting in a press release, BMA medical ethics committee chair Tony Calland said: "We're very pleased the Welsh government has published this ground-breaking legislation and we are supportive of moving to opt-out. It will increase the number of available organs for people who desperately need them in Wales." (click here)

Consultation for the draft Bill will continue until the 10th September 2012.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Lynda Williams