Just under 300 days to go until the organ donation law changes in Wales

In just under 300 days from now, on December 1, 2015, Wales will become the first country in the UK to introduce soft opt-out legislation for organ donation.

The ‘Time to Talk’ mass media campaign is now in full swing across Wales to raise awareness and increase understanding of organ donation choices available as part of the new legislation.

The new opt-out system for organ donation aims to increase the number of donated organs available for transplant. Under the new system, which will come into force on December 1, 2015, people will become a potential organ donor by either registering their decision to opt in – as they do currently – or by doing nothing at all, in which case their consent may be deemed. People who do nothing will be treated as if they have no objection to becoming a donor.

People who do not wish to become organ donors will be able to register their decision to opt out of the new system. The family of any potential donor will continue to have a major role to play in organ donation under a soft-opt out system and will be involved in any discussions about organ donation. The new law will respect the wishes of the deceased, however relatives or friends of long standing may object to consent being deemed if they know their relative did not want to be a donor.

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“December 1, 2015 will see Wales become the first country in the UK to introduce a soft opt-out system for organ donation. We hope this new law will help save more lives and transform attitudes towards consent to organ donation here in Wales.

“While awareness and understanding of the legislation continues to increase, the percentage of people who have talked about their organ donation wishes remains low.

“Finding ourselves in the position of being a donor is rare and often families do not expect to be approached about donating a relative’s organs. But when they know each other’s wishes, more families feel able to carry out what their loved ones wanted. The new law will make the decision to be a donor the default position unless the person said otherwise.

“The latest phase of the public awareness campaign is now in full swing, and with just under 300 days to go until the legislation comes into force, we hope more people will discuss their organ donation choices with their families.”

From December 1, 2015, the choices will be:

To be a donor, an individual can:

•register a decision to be a donor (opt in) or

•choose to do nothing. If you do nothing, you will be treated as if you have no objection to being an organ donor.

To not be a donor, an individual can:

•register a decision not to be a donor (opt out).

Like the current system, anybody will be able to register a decision to donate all organs and tissues or to select specific organs or tissues. Until December 1, 2015, the current opt-in system continues and the deemed consent will not apply.

More information can be found at www.organdonationwales.org (external link). Any organisation who would like to become involved in the Time to Talk campaign should send an email initially to [email protected]