Saturday, August 02, 2008

Organ donation opt-out plan dropped in Wales

From OnMedica News:

Plans to change the law to introduce presumed consent for organ donation have been rejected by a Welsh Assembly committee.

The Assembly’s health, wellbeing and local government committee has this week published a report into organ donation recommending that presumed consent should not be adopted in the country, a decision criticised by doctors’ leaders.

In the Inquiry into Presumed Consent for Organ Donation report, Jonathan Morgan, Chair of the Assembly committee, said: “We are certainly all agreed on the benefits of organ donation and transplantation and that more needs to be done to ensure that more organs are available for transplant.

“However, we could not agree unanimously on whether to move ahead with presumed consent legislation in Wales.”

Instead, the committee wants public bodies to do more to encourage people to sign up as organ and bone marrow donors.

The report will be studied across the rest of the UK, where moving to a presumed consent system is also being considered.

Mr Morgan added: “Asking grieving people for their consent to remove part of their loved ones, even if it is to save the life of another, is not an easy task. So I can see the attraction of presumed consent. Unfortunately, whatever its attractions, it's not a silver bullet.”

Welsh Secretary of the BMA, Dr Richard Lewis said: “We fully support the recommendation that transplant capacity within Wales should be reviewed and the need to increase the number of intensive or critical care facilities in Wales to help increase the number of organs available for transplant.

“However, we are extremely disappointed that the report has rejected immediate calls for legislation aimed at introducing presumed consent for organ donation. We disagree that this would act as a distraction.

“We feel the Committee has missed a real opportunity for Wales to take the lead and send a clear message to the rest of the UK that a 'soft' system of presumed consent would increase donation rates and save Welsh lives.”

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