Bereaved mum's anger at organ donation laws
A MOTHER whose son died whilst waiting for a life-saving double lung transplant said she has been left "very disappointed" after being told the law on organ donation in this country does not look set to change any time soon.
Jill Oxley, from Chaddlewood, lost her son Jon Paul at the beginning of September, as reported in The Herald.
She has since joined The Herald's Gift of Life campaign to get more people to sign the Organ Donor Register.
She wrote to David Cameron at the end of October telling him of her son's plight. She had hoped her heartfelt letter, explaining about Jon Paul's battle with chronic cystic fibrosis, would encourage the Prime Minister to think seriously about changing the law to an opt-out system, meaning that everyone would automatically be an organ donor unless they chose not to be.
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Yesterday, Wales moved a step closer to becoming the first part of the UK to introduce opt-out organ donation after the Welsh Government published a Bill to increase organs available for transplant by a quarter.
The Welsh Government hopes the Bill will become law by the summer which would mean everyone is considered to be a willing organ donor when they die, unless they have stated otherwise.
But after receiving a letter from the Department of Health which states that the law in England looks unlikely to change in the near future, Mrs Oxley said she has been left "angry".
The letter says: "I was very sorry to read of your son's death. The Department agrees that as many people as possible who need a replacement organ should have the opportunity to receive an organ transplant, and I would like to reassure you that the Department is supporting action to increase organ donation in the UK."
Mrs Oxley said: "I'm angry - it's not a helpful reply at all. I'm very disappointed. But it's positive news in Wales, it's just a shame it's not our Government.
"This is not going to stop me though. I'm going to carry on fighting."
A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We are studying the Welsh Government's proposals carefully. The independent Organ Donation Taskforce examined the case for moving to an opt-out system in 2008.
" They recommended against it, concluding that whilst such a system might have the potential to deliver benefits, it would present significant difficulties.
"Donor levels have risen by more than 40 per cent in England since 2008 and we would urge people to consider signing up to the organ donor register."
Mrs Oxley said she will be replying to the letter asking questions around why the opt-out system would create a challenge and risk, why the families of those who have died whilst waiting for a transplant aren't consulted on the issue and how many lives have been lost through a lack of available organs.
The Herald's Gift of Life campaign, launched with the support of Jon Paul's family and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, aims to inspire another 1,000 city people to sign the Organ Donor Register. By visiting www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/giftoflife you can read all about the campaign and join up.
Alternatively visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk, or call the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 2323. Lines are open 24 hours a day all year round. Calls are charged at contracted rate for local calls.
People can also join when they are registering for a driving licence, applying for a Boots Advantage card, registering at a GP surgery or registering for a European Health Insurance card (EHIC).