Monday, 17 December 2012

ACTION ALERT: Welsh Organ donation consultation must be extended

The Welsh government has announced plans to introduce presumed consent for organ donation. They are calling it "deemed consent", whereby people living in Wales for a period of six months or more will be opted-in automatically as organ donors. This will include prisoners, tourists, and students. SPUC Wales region has run an effective campaign opposing this, including making a significant impact on the first consultation.

The consultation process has now entered the next stage – a six week public consultation on the draft Bill and review by the Welsh Assembly Health and Social Committee. The public gets 6 weeks to make comments and submit evidence. Invited organizations are asked to do the same. This consultation period currently closes on 18th January.

However, SPUC is urging all pro-life supporters to write to the review committee chairman:

Mark Drakeford
Health and Social Committee
National Assembly
Cardiff Bay
CF99 1NA

to complain about the shortage of time and the unsuitable seasonal period over Christmas for the public to submit evidence. We are asking for the consultation to be extended until March 2013.

This public stage concerns everyone, not just those living in Wales. Please write to Mark Drakeford, even if you are not Welsh or living in Wales. This Bill could affect you if you, or your loved ones, ever visit Wales. This will affect you, because legislation in Wales will be used to blaze a trail in other parts of Britain and elsewhere. This involves you because anyone anywhere is permitted to make submissions to the consultation.

Mark Drakeford has been widely reported in the press as saying that this is the last time that people will be able to contribute on this issue and that it is a chance “to look at it again with fresh eyes”
(South Wales Argus, Caerphilly Observer). To do this, a proper amount of time after Christmas is needed as a minimum.

The Government’s Code of Practice on Consultation principle 2.2 states:
“If a consultation exercise is to take place over a period when consultees are less able to respond, e.g. over the summer or Christmas break, or if the policy under consideration is a particularly complex, consideration should be given to the feasibility of allowing a longer period for the consultation.”
The current consultation runs during the Christmas period, which includes three bank holidays and is a time when people go away on holiday and take time off from work and correspondence. There is no way any meaningful consultation can be concluded in anything less than 3 months which is the standard time length anyway.

Please write today to chairman Mark Drakeford, citing the points above, asking that the consultation period be extended to March 2013.

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