Mike Hedges AM Major campaign which urges people to talk about organ donation
Today (Monday 3 September), the Welsh Government launched the second phase of a major campaign focusing on the role of families in the organ donation process.
Mike Hedges said… ‘ I have met many people whose lives have been transformed transplants and through this am well aware of how important being an organ donor is. I am fully supportive of the Welsh Governments policy of ‘Deemed Consent’. Evidence shows however that despite this, people can still have their views over ridden by family members who may not be aware that people support organ donation. I would urge everyone to chat to loved ones about their wish to have organ donated in the event of premature or unexpected death. It is an awkward topic but a vital one if we are to derive full benefit from Deemed Consent’
Three hard-hitting advertisements show an individual’s choice to donate their organs being over-ridden by family members, because they didn’t talk to them about their decision or registration on the organ donor register to become a donor.
The Welsh Government is urging people to talk during Organ Donation Week (September 3 to 9) to prevent lifesaving transplants being missed because families did not know their loved one’s organ donation decision.
Surveys show around 80% of people in the UK support organ donation, however only 33% of people have told their family that they want to donate. In circumstances where a family does not know their loved one’s decision, they are far more likely to refuse to allow organ donation to take place.
Data published by NHS Blood and Transplant showed that in 2017-18 there were 22 cases in Wales where families either overrode their relatives’ decisions to donate organs, or didn’t support deemed consent.
With an average of 3.2 organs retrieved per donor in Wales in 2017-18, this could have resulted in as many as 70 additional transplants.
Just having a chat can help benefit the people of Wales and the UK by reducing the number of people dying whilst waiting for a suitable organ to become available, and transforming the lives of others.
It is your decision whether or not you would like to donate your organs after you die.
Once your decision is made, you can choose to:
• Opt in – this is your decision to become a donor.
• Do nothing – You will be treated as having no objection to being a donor and your consent will be deemed.
• Opt out – this is your decision not to become a donor.
• You can register a decision at any time by calling 0300 123 23 23 (Calls to this phone line will be answered by NHS Blood and Transplant) or visiting organdonationwales.org or by telling your family (and friends).