Families asked to talk about organ donation
1:24pm Monday 25th February 2013 in News
FAMILIES are being encouraged to have a conversation about their organ donation wishes as part of the Welsh Government's Heart to Heart campaign.
Family members are encouraged, if in support of organ donation, to make a pledge to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register in 2013.
A Heart to Heart public roadshow was launched earlier this year, supported by a regional advertising campaign, which visited a number of towns and villages across Wales ending on February 14, 2013.
Talking about sensitive matters that involve life and death with close relatives isn't always easy. But according to Gaynor Taylor from Barry, who tragically lost her son in a freak accident, it is vital.
"Death is never an easy subject to think or talk about," said Gaynor Taylor, "But it's one that's important to consider so that if the worst happens to a loved one, then at least you can take comfort in knowing their wishes.
"My son, Richard, died in a dreadful accident in 2004. He was 23 and a champion skater with a promising career in front of him. When we knew that we'd lost him we were approached by a specialist nurse at the hospital and asked to consider donating his organs. We hadn't talked about the subject as a family but my husband and I agreed to the donation going ahead as we felt that was the right thing to do.
"We were later told that Richard had in fact registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register without telling us and knowing that we'd made the right decision felt as if a weight had been lifted from our shoulders.
"I would like to encourage families across Wales to make it their New Year Resolution to talk about organ donation this coming year and sign the Organ Donor register if in favour. I know people can be superstitious, but talking about it won't make it happen. It's such an important issue - you need to know what your next of kin would want so that you, like us, make the right decisions for your family."
A Welsh Government Bill to change the system of consent to deceased organ donation in Wales from the current opt in system to a soft-opt out was laid before the National Assembly for Wales earlier this month. Under the new system, people will still be able to register a wish to be an organ donor, or they can register a wish not to be a donor.
However if they do neither, then it will be in the knowledge their consent to donation will be deemed to have been given. A soft opt-out system means that families are still fully involved in discussions about donation. If passed, it is hoped the new law will come into force in 2015.
An extensive two-year public awareness campaign will start immediately following the new law receiving Royal Assent to inform people of what the new legislation will mean and what their options under the system are. More information on the proposed legislation and the Heart to Heart campaign can be found at www.wales.gov.uk/organdonation