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Friday, 13 March 2009

The wait goes on for hundreds of people in Wales on the organ donor register

Hard-hitting health campaigns can nowadays, seem to lack the very ‘shock’ factor they are trying to illicit. But I think the latest TV advert by Kidney Wales certainly should get across the point to viewers about just how important it is anyone considering signing up to the organ donor register does so, NOW. The fact that one person dies every 11 days waiting for a transplant really does illustrate how time is of the essence for anyone on the transplant list.

I also think this just goes to prove again how important it is that we move towards a system of presumed consent, as chairman of Kidney Wales Roy J Thomas says “We are in the grips of an organ donor crisis in Wales”. I still think the best way of tackling this crisis is to change the system as it stands now. And that’s why I welcome the private member’s bill on presumed consent being debated in the House of Commons tomorrow (put forward by Jeremy Browne, MP).

The BMA backs the idea of presumed consent, which would see all adults having the opportunity at every stage, to make it known if they do not want to donate their organs after death. Among the safeguards proposed - high profile publicity campaigns which would make everyone aware of the choices. Consent to donation would only be presumed, if individuals expressed no objection. Families would also be consulted and donation would not proceed if relatives would be seriously distressed. Doctors would consult with patients’ and their loved ones, every step of the way.

Some 90% of people say they would be willing to donate their organs. Unfortunately, this does not translate into people who actually sign the register - that stands at roughly 30%. And there lies the crux of the problem, it seems people want to be donors, but for whatever reason, they just don’t get round to signing the register. Of course, that wouldn’t be an issue with a presumed consent system and that is how a change to legislation, could make all the difference to anyone left waiting on the organ donor register.

Find out all about the BMA’s position on presumed consent by reading the BMA’s briefing paper on organ donation

Sign up to the organ donor register

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