The organ donation opt-out scheme has transformed lives – says the Minister for health five years since the scheme was introduced
Lives have been transformed by the introduction of a soft opt-out system for organ donation in Wales and we should be proud of what we have achieved ‘- said Minister Vaughan Gething five years ago The plan should be introduced.
Exactly five years into today (1 December) Wales led the way by introducing a soft opt-out system for organ donation, where presumed consent for organ donation was given unless the person had opted out.
The system has been so successful that England has now introduced an opt-out system. Scotland will do so next year and Northern Ireland will consult on a similar change.
Since the scheme was introduced in Wales the number of people opting into the Organ Donation Register has risen by 4% from 138,527 in 2016/17 to 1,300,494 in the first two quarters of 2020/21.
Consent rates for organ donation have reached an all-time high in Wales at 77% in 2018/19, after as low as 58% in 2015/16
Over 200 organ transplants have been completed on patients in Wales in each of the last two years; an 11% rise from 180 in 2017/18.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Over the last five years people’s lives have been transformed by organ donation. Not only that but organ donor families have also taken comfort from the fact that their loved ones have given life to others.
“This would not have been possible without the generosity of donors and their families who have supported the system, and the dedication of all clinical staff.
“We should be very proud to lead the way with an opt-out scheme for organ donation in Wales and show the rest of the UK that such a scheme could work.
“Not only has what we achieved saved lives and improved people’s quality of life, it has also been an example of what a compassionate country can do to care for its citizens.
“There will still be room for improvement and people need to grow in confidence to discuss the issue of organ donation with their families, but the progress we’ve made in the last five years will last for generations to come.”