Welsh government to change law on organ donors
The Welsh government is set to bring in new laws which it hopes will increase the number of organ donors in the Principality by more than 25 per cent.
Rather than relying on people to agree to become donors it is planning on introducing a system where people are automatically registered and have to opt out if they do not want to be listed.
Despite this, the Welsh government said that families will be able to prevent organs being removed from the bodies of their loved ones in practice because the new ruling will require the families' assistance.
Dr George Findlay, chair of the Welsh Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, and a consultant in intensive care at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales, explained to the BBC: "As a doctor we are not going to do anything against family wishes.
"It is a terrible time to talk to families. It helps if you know what a patient's wishes are.
"If patients haven't opted out we would hope to talk to families about what organ donation is and the fact that their family has expressed to be an organ donor and, hopefully, that could be followed through."
The organs of those which are made available for transplant will not be solely for the benefit of people in Wales and can be given to anyone on a waiting list in the whole of the British Isles.
The law will also only apply to persons aged 18 or over who has lived in Wales for at least six months.
Some 37 people died in Wales while waiting for a suitable organ last year, health minister Lesley Griffiths revealed. This was despite the number of donor card carriers growing by 49 per cent in the past four years.
"I believe the time has come to introduce a change in the law together with an extensive communication and education programme encouraging people to make a decision and to ensure their families know their wishes," Ms Griffiths added.