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Dobson welcomes Welsh Health Minister's support for local organ donation reforms

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has described discussions on changing local organ donation laws with the Welsh Health Minister Prof Mark Drakeford AM as 'extremely constructive'.

Commenting following the meeting in Cardiff the Upper Bann MLA, whose son received a kidney transplant in 2009, said: "The Welsh Government are rapidly moving ahead and modernising their organ donation system, making changes which will ultimately save lives.

"The Welsh are leading the way and I for one am keen that Northern Ireland is not left behind.

"I was delighted to receive the Ministers support for my Bill at Stormont which would see us follow Wales as the second region of the UK to adopt a new system which has family consent at its core.

"It was extremely helpful for me to meet with Minister Drakeford and to open discussions with him and his officials at the Welsh Government.

"We discussed how they are preparing for changes and the lessons which they have learnt from the debate in Wales which led up to their Assembly passing new legislation last July.

"Minister Drakeford told me that they are hopeful that their changes, once implemented, will lead to many extra donations each year.  Donations which will transform the lives of people who need a transplant to save their life.

"Improving the organ donation system in Wales has been a commitment of the Government there since 2008 - and it remains a real concern of mine that our Health Minister has not chosen to make modernising the system in Northern Ireland a priority. 

"Minister Drakeford recognises that, unlike Wales, I am progressing legislative change as an individual MLA and not through the Executive - despite the personal support of the First and deputy First Ministers and my repeated calls for Minister Poots to do the right thing.

"That's why I am delighted to receive the commitment of ongoing support from Welsh officials as I continue to progress my Bill at Stormont.

"That support means so much to me and to the groundswell of public support for change, which includes all of the seven local transplant charities, who back my campaign to modernise the law in Northern Ireland."

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