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Wales considering move to presumed consent for organ donations

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Welsh ministers are to gauge public opinion on whether the country should adopt a system of presumed consent to boost organ donor numbers.

If such a move went ahead, it would make Wales the first country in the UK to change from an ‘opt-in’ system to an ‘opt-out’ system.

Opinion will be gauged on two types of presumed consent – ‘soft’ and ‘hard’. A ‘soft’ system grants relatives the right to veto the removal of organs yet the ‘hard’ version offers no such concessions.

Discussions will also focus on a proposal for a scheme of mandated choice, whereby all adults would be required by law to state whether or not they are prepared to donate their organs after death.

Around 150 people have died in Wales in the last five years while waiting for a transplant, prompting Welsh health minister Edwina Hart to announce the debate.

‘Around 470 people in Wales are currently waiting for an organ transplant,’ she said. ‘It is my belief that we should examine more closely the issue of introducing a system of presumed consent.’

Discussion events will be held across the country in the next few months and a consultation document will also be published.

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