Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Health and Social Services
A White Paper setting out the Welsh Government’s proposals for legislation on organ and tissue donation was published on 7 November 2011 for a 12 week consultation, which ended on 31 January 2012. We received an excellent response to the consultation, with 1,234 replies received before the deadline.
Today, I am publishing a summary of the responses.
The White Paper took forward a manifesto commitment to introduce legislation on a soft opt-out system for organ donation. A soft opt-out system means unless a person has opted out of being a donor, they would be assumed to have no objection to their organs being considered for donation if they died in circumstances in which donation was a possibility. In a soft opt-out system, the deceased’s family would be involved in the decision making process around donation. Evidence suggests changing to this system could increase the number of organ donations by up to 25 per cent.
Building upon a previous consultation of 2008-9 which showed considerable support in Wales for such a change in the law, the White Paper posed questions relating to how the arrangements should work and did not explicitly invite respondents to state whether they supported the proposals. However, 91% (1,124) of the responses we received did indicate an overall view, with 52% (646) of respondents supporting the proposals and 39% (478) opposed.
The analysis report goes on to show what people said in response to the questions we asked in the White Paper, including the role of the family, how “living in Wales” should be determined and the age from which the new arrangements should apply.
We will be giving very careful consideration to the comments as we develop the draft Bill, which we intend to publish for consultation before the summer recess.