Mike Hedges AM welcomes Welsh Government launch first Organ Donation pack for secondary Schools.

Mike Hedges AM welcomes Welsh Government launch first Organ Donation pack for secondary Schools.

The first organ donation education resource for schools in Wales has been launched by the Welsh Government.

Mike Hedges AM said… I welcome this development; talking about organ donation can be a very difficult topic if left until the immediate period after someone passes away. I support this initiative, and it is important that we all become used to talking about organ donation prior to needing to talk about it following a loved one’s death. I urge everyone to speak about this with family and loved ones so that people are aware of each other’s views. The scheme in operation over the last 3 years has led to a significant increase in the number of transplants. I hope that this figure continues to increase.

The pack, which was first tested with pupils there, will help inform key stage 3 and 4 students about organ donation, encouraging them to discuss the subject with their friends and families.

The lesson guide is the result of collaboration between the Welsh Government and NHS Blood and Transplant, and contains a lesson plan, activities, short case study films and guidance for teachers.

The pack aims to encourage pupils to:
• Describe how organ donation saves and improves lives;
• Explain some of the reasons why people decide to become organ and tissue donors;
• Understand why it is important to join the NHS Organ Donor Register;
• Understand how to talk to people about organ and tissue donation;
• Understand what options about donating they must consider under the system in Wales;
• Understand the decision to donate is their own, and the importance of sharing that decision.

In 2015 Wales was the first country in the UK to move to a soft opt-out system of consent to organ donation. The latest statistics reveal a 72% consent rate and approximately 24.3 donors per million population, putting Wales at the top of the list in the UK.

Statistics also show that 39% of the Welsh population have registered to opt-in to donate their organs following their death. However, if individuals don’t tell their family of their decision to donate, the family may not honour that decision and over-ride the organ donor registration or not support deemed consent.

In 2016-17 data published by NHS Blood and Transplant showed there were 21 cases in Wales where families either overrode their relatives’ decisions to donate organs, or didn’t support the deemed consent.

With an average of 3.1 organs retrieved per donor in Wales in 2016-17, this could have resulted in as many as 65 additional transplants.

You can read more about organ donation in Wales here