Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Action Alert: make a submission now to halt presumed consent in Wales

The Welsh Assembly Health and Social Care Committee consultation on presumed consent for organ donation closes on Friday 18th January. It is very urgent that you make a written submission to this committee, setting out why you are opposed to presumed consent for organ donation. Please encourage others to do the same. We are not trying to oppose voluntary organ donation, provided the ethical demands surrounding the definition of death are fulfilled. The draft Bill and supporting documents can be seen here. Presumed consent:

• Abolishes organ donation as a free gift
• Makes the body the property of the state
• Does not necessarily lead to more organs available for donation
• Presumed consent could be extended into other areas of medicine
• Ignores serious concerns about current definitions and practises concerning death i.e. brain death, beating heart donors
• Families will have no or a very reduced say in what happens to their loved one

The current consultation is open to all people. This means you can make a consultation submission even if you do not live in Wales or the UK. Individuals and organisations are encouraged to make a submission. If presumed consent is introduced it could negatively affect organ donation practise in other parts of the UK. Just before Christmas the press reported that Scottish MSP Drew Smith plans to introduce a bill for presumed consent in Scotland modelled on Welsh proposals.

I have previously reported on SPUC South Wales region campaign to stop presumed consent for organ donation in Wales being introduced. During an initial consultation the vast majority of submissions to the Welsh government's consultation (2,601 out of 2,891) were in response to SPUC South Wales' call for action opposing the Bill.

We issued an action alert just before Christmas, calling on our supporters to contact the committee requesting that the consultation period be extended. We still want supporters to do this, but we need to make submissions as well as there is no guarantee that an extension will be granted.

To help you with your submission we have prepared a concise briefing containing lots of information you can include. Put things in your own words.

Your submission should be made in writing and emailed to or posted to Sarah Sargent, Deputy Clerk Health and Social Committee National Assembly for Wales Cardiff Bay, CF99 1NA.

If possible, please send an email copy of your submission to our South Wales Development Officer, Janet Thomas: Phone 02920 512397 for help and guidance.

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