A CHRISTIAN advocacy group has been accused of making “misleading and inaccurate” statements after it branded the opt-out transplant system in Wales a failure, two years into the new law.

The Scottish Government yesterday unveiled a bill for a similar system in Scotland, which will mean individuals who wish to donate organs after death are not required to sign up to the orgn donor register but the right to say no is respected.

It follows a long-running campaign by the Evening Times, and a government consultation which showed it had the backing of the majority of the Scottish public.

The Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) group issued a statement urging the Scottish Government to re-think the plan, claiming a 1.2% decrease in deceased donation rates last year was proof that the new system is failing.

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However, the Welsh Government says it has seen a year on year increase in donors in Wales since 2012/13, from 52 to a high of 74 in 2017/18. It said organ donation would always have “natural fluctuations."

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “CARE is fundamentally opposed to presumed consent and actively campaigned against the introduction of the life-saving opt-out system in Wales.

“Whilst we respect their views, it is highly regrettable that they are issuing misleading and inaccurate statements.

“Since introducing an opt out system we have seen a steady rise in the consent rate for organ donation.

"In fact, more people in Wales are consenting to have their organs donated than any other part of the UK, with the overall consent rate in Wales at 70%, compared to 57% in Scotland.

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"The more people who consent the more chance we have of reducing the transplant waiting list.

“Lives are saved and changed forever as a result of organ donation and we are fiercely proud of the fact Wales was the first country in the UK to move to a soft opt-out system of consent. We are pleased to see that Scotland will be following our lead.”

The latest figures show around 181,000 people have opted out, around 5% of the Welsh population.

David McColgan, Senior Policy Manager for British Heart Foundation Scotland said: “The Scottish Government’s proposed changes to the law on organ donation are supported by over 50 years of international evidence, including Belgium, Norway & Spain, that shows when a soft opt-out system is used alongside other measures it can increase donation rates.”

Jill Vickerman, National Director of BMA Scotland, said: “ It has always been clear that firm conclusions cannot be made from Wales until the system has been in place for a number of years to allow trends to emerge, however the 15% increase in deceased donors recorded over the last two years is encouraging."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said:“We need to do all we can to further reduce the number of people in Scotland waiting for transplants. The move to an opt out system received 82 per cent support from respondents in a public consultation in 2017.

“We have made significant progress over the past decade, and moving to an opt out system will add to the important measures we have already in place, as well as driving a long term positive change in attitudes towards organ and tissue donation. Under the proposed system, people will still be able to make a choice about donation and there are safeguards to ensure their wishes are followed.”