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Thursday, 15 January 2009

More support for presumed consent for organ donation

Research published in the BMJ today gives more weight to BMA Cymru Wales’ calls for introducing a presumed consent system (where people opt OUT, instead of IN) for organ donation in Wales.

The report looks at 13 studies that either assessed organ donation rates before and after the introduction of presumed consent in a single country, or, compared rates between countries with similar systems.

And several of them highlight a significant link between increased organ donation rates and presumed consent. In one case, estimated donation rates were increased by as much as a quarter.

This same report does also point out that it probably isn’t solely presumed consent which has triggered the change, with other factors such as overhauling the organ transplant infrastructure being equally important. There wouldn’t be much point making such a fundamental change to the system if we couldn’t cope with demand.

The BMA has always maintained a system of presumed consent is the way forward to help with the chronic shortage of donors we currently have in Wales. And we have also argued running alongside this, that the whole transplant system needs addressing at the same time, to make sure the necessary parts are in place, such as transplant centres and coordinators.

This new research is encouraging though and will hopefully be noted by our Health Minister, currently consulting on the best way forward on this for Wales.

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