We continue to work closely with the Welsh Government on their proposal to introduce an opt-out system of consent for organ donation in Wales. We have made considerable progress across the UK over the past four years with organ donor numbers rising by about 40% over the baseline year of 2007-08.
Since the organ donation taskforce was set up by the previous Prime Minister—it reported in 2008—there has been a massive increase in organ donation across the UK, particularly in Wales, where the level of donation is higher. What plans does my hon. Friend have to discuss with the Department of Health at Westminster and the Welsh Government the ways in which we can work together to build on that success?
Extensive discussions are under way involving all the Departments and Ministers that my hon. Friend mentioned with a view to achieving further increases in organ donation across the UK. We have yet to see the detail of the Welsh Government legislation, but we hope it will contribute to a further increase, not cut across it.
Hon. Members may recall the visit of Mr Matthew Lammas of Newport to the House just over a year ago. At the age of just 23, he gave a harrowing account of his wait, the frustrations and delays, for a heart transplant. Tragically, Matthew died two months ago, but is not the example of the frustration and delay that he faced a powerful argument for supporting the proposals of the Welsh Assembly Government?
The hon. Gentleman brings a powerful example to the House of why we need to do more at different levels, in both the UK and the Welsh Governments, to increase the number of organ donors across the UK, and to that end we look forward to seeing the detail of the Welsh Government legislation.
I very much welcome the Welsh Government’s initiative of introducing legislation to increase organ donation, but after the Supreme Court justices described as “bizarre” the referral by the Secretary of State to the court of the Welsh Government’s byelaw legislation, will the Minister give the House unreserved assurances that the Wales Office will not delay this life-saving legislation and will not waste taxpayers’ money by making any more spurious referrals to the Supreme Court?
My Department and the Department of Health have been in close discussion with the Welsh Government about the detail of the legislation, and we are optimistic that all outstanding devolution issues will be addressed before publication of the legislation.