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Deemed consent: assessing the new opt-out approach to organ procurement in Wales
  1. Andreas Albertsen
  1. Correspondence to Andreas Albertsen, Department of Political Science, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark; aba{at}


In December 2015, Wales became the first country in the UK to move away from an opt-in system in organ procurement. The new legislation introduces the concept of deemed consent whereby a person who neither opt in nor opt out is deemed to have consented to donation. The data released by the National Health Service (NHS) in July 2017 provide an excellent opportunity to assess this legislation in light of concerns that it would decrease procurement rates for living and deceased donation, as well as sparking an increase in family refusals. None of these concerns have come to pass, with Wales experiencing more registered donors, fewer family refusals and more living donations. However, as the number of actual donors has dropped slightly from a high level, the situation must be monitored closely in the years to come.

  • family
  • ethics
  • informed consent
  • living wills/advance directives
  • donation/procurement of organs/tissues

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  • Funding This study was funded by the Carlsberg Foundation (Grant number: CF14-0896).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Presented at This article was presented at the EACME Conference in Barcelona, September 2017.