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Opt-out organ donation system ‘has already saved lives’

The new opt-out system for organ donation in Wales has already saved lives, its Government has said.

The Welsh Government looked at the first two months of the scheme, December and January, finding that of the 15 people who donated their organs, six had become donors via the new ‘deemed to give consent’ route because they had neither opted in nor out of the organ donor register.

It rolled out the scheme, applying to anyone over the age of 18 who has lived in Wales for more than 12 months and dies in Wales, in response to statistics showing that although only a third of people are registered donors, 90% of the Welsh population supports donation.

The system is referred to by the Welsh Government as a ‘soft’ opt-out system, with distressed relatives still able to block donation in practice.

Because of this, health and social services minister Professor Mark Drakeford is urging people to disucss their wishes with their loved ones.

He said: ’The change in the organ donation system has made it easier for people to donate their organs and ended a very anxious wait for many people who are waiting for a transplant.

’However, it is important for everyone in Wales to talk to their loved ones about their organ donation decisions and to register it – whether it is to opt in or out – on the organ donation register.

’Sharing your decision with your family and loved ones can help in the rare event that your family should ever have a conversation about organ donation with healthcare professionals.’

Since 2010, more than 150 people in Wales have died while waiting for an organ transplant.