New figures showing a rise in the number of people living in Wales whose lives were saved or improved by an organ transplant have been welcomed by Welsh Labour’s Health Secretary Vaughan Gething.

The latest Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report, the first report since the introduction of opt out registration and deemed consent in Wales, shows that over the last financial year:

  • The number of patients residing in Wales whose lives were saved or improved by an organ transplant increased by 24% to 214 (figure for 2014/15 was 173 which represents an increase of 41).
  • A 7% increase in the number of deceased donors donating in Wales to 64 (the figure was 60 in 2014-15).
  • The number of donors after brain death increased by 13% to 36 (the figure was 32 in 2014-15), while the number of donors after circulatory death remained the same at 28.
  • The number of living donors residing in Wales increased by 20% to 49.
  • 136 patients residing in Wales had their sight restored through a cornea transplant, representing an increase of 5%.

Wales became the first part of the UK to change the organ donation system when it introduced a soft opt-out system. People aged 18 and over who have lived in Wales for more than 12 months and who die in Wales will now be regarded as having consented to organ donation unless they have opted opt, a system called deemed consent.

People who want to be an organ donor can register a decision to opt in or do nothing, which will mean they have no objection to being an organ donor. Those people who do not want to be organ donor can opt out at any time.

The release of the data comes during Organ Donation campaign Week which runs from 5th September to 10th September. The campaign is focused on getting 18 – 34s to discuss their organ donation decision (Time to Talk) and reminding adults across Wales of their options under the new system and what they mean. An e-mail and a direct mail will be sent to all students who have accepted a place to study in Wales through UCAS but live outside of Wales.

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