The Welsh Government has announced a consultation on a draft Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill. The Bill will introduce a “soft opt-out” system for consent to deceased organ and tissue donation in Wales, under which consent to donation will be deemed to have been given unless an individual objects during his or her lifetime. The intention, however, is that those closest to the deceased will still have an important role to play in the process. The Bill is published together with a Draft Explanatory Memorandum incorporating the Regulatory Impact Assessment and Explanatory Notes. The consultation opened on 18 June and will close on 10 September.
To say that the issue is by no means uncontroversial is something of an understatement. In January 2012 the Church in Wales staged a public debate on the plans to introduce presumed consent – prior to which, in his address to the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in September 2011, the Archbishop of Wales had called for the proposal to be scrapped. There has already been one round of consultation which closed on 31 January to which the Church in Wales, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox in Wales made a joint response in which they described the proposal as “ill-judged if well intentioned”.