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Family attitudes, actions, decisions and experiences following implementation of deemed consent and the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013: mixed-method study protocol

12 Oct 2017


The Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 (the Act) introduced a ‘soft opt-out’ system of organ donation on 1 December 2015. Citizens are encouraged to make their organ donation decision known during their lifetime. In order to work, the Act and media campaign need to create a context, whereby organ donation becomes the norm, and create a mechanism for people to behave as intended (formally register their decision; consider appointing a representative; convey their donation decision to their families and friends or do nothing—deemed consent). In addition, family members/appointed representatives need to be able to put their own views aside to support the decision of their loved one. The aim of this study is to evaluate initial implementation, outcomes and impact on families and appointed representatives who were approached about organ donation during the first 18 months.

Methods and analysis

Prospective mixed-method coproductive study undertaken with National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), and multiple patient/public representatives. The study is designed to collect information on all cases who meet specified criteria (≥18 years, deceased person voluntarily resident in Wales and died in Wales or England) whose family were approached between 1 December 2015 and 31 June 2017). Data for analysis include: NHSBT routinely collected anonymised audit data on all cases; Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation (SNOD) completed anonymised form for all cases documenting their perception of the families’ understanding of the Act, media campaign and outcome of the donation approach; questionnaires and depth interviews with any family member or appointed representative (minimum 50 cases). Additional focus groups and interviews with SNODs. Anonymised donation outcomes and registration activity reports for Wales provide additional context.

Ethics and dissemination

Approved by NHSBT Research, Innovation and Technology Advisory Group on 23 October 2015; Wales Research Ethics Committee 5 (IRAS190066; Rec Reference 15/WA/0414) on 25 November 2015 and NHSBT R&D Committee (NHSBT ID: AP-15–02) on 24 November 2015.


The protocol is registered on the Health and Care Research Wales Clinical Research Portfolio. Study ID number 34396,

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open