Is a change in the law the best way to increase organ donation? And in times of austerity, one Welsh author is warning that Wales's children are falling into cultural poverty.
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We look at plans to change the law Welcome to the The Wales Report.
Good evening and welcome to the programme that looks at the issues
that matter. There are currently more than 200 people waiting for an
organ transplant. Only 30% of us are registered as organ donors. The
Welsh Government says it has the answer by creating the first opt-
out system in the UK. If it is approved it means everyone will be
seen as a willing donor when they die unless they have stated
Medicine has at man dramatically. Auden donations made headlines
India's previous. Since those days, surgery has been increasingly
sophisticated and successful, yet today in Wales patients are dying
at the rate of one a week at because there are not enough organs
for operations. It was six years before Melanie was able to have her
kidney transplant. She considers herself lucky and is convinced
changing the law will increase donor numbers and stop others
having to go through the agony of The opt-out system will raise
numbers on the organ Donor Register. The a at the moment, we have to opt
into the system to become organ donors.
We have to make our wishes clear by signing up to the organ Donor
Register, carrying a card or telling family and friends about
our wishes. Under the new law, they will be a presumption we all want
to be organ donors unless we opt out of the system.
The if the plans are approved this year, the law will come into effect
in 2015. The moral debate is already under way, and aside from
the ethical discussion, some in the medical profession have deep
concerns about how it will work in practice. They say the plans have
not been thought through and insufficient funding need lead to
chaos. One academic says the whole policy is based on misleading
information. In explaining the new plans, the
Welsh Government has stated that Spain's use of the soft opt-out
system has driven up organ donor levels, but some claim that
presumed consent is not the reason for Spain's success.
To pass a bill with such a misleading statement is an
incredible thing to do. Do To do what the Spanish are doing
with public relations and so on. There are extra organs available
for transplant. But there will be more strain on facilities. Some are
worried we will not have enough intensive care beds to cope. There
has not been any increased capacity to take into account the
legislation. We feel if we could increase capacity we could
potentially increase the use of. would have profound implications
for our nurses. At the moment there are only 15 specialist donor nurses
in Wales. They are trained to have that delicate conversation.
requires a specialist skill said. Of course we will meet nursing and
medical staff. We do have bona specialists but only a small number.
Implementing the changes will cause -- cost an estimated �5 million
over the next five years. There will need to be extra intensive
care facilities as well as extra training for staff and setting up a
register. As well as that there will be a comprehensive public
awareness campaign. The Welsh Government told us they are
confident with the planned changes. They are already looking at
training resources. They are not seeking to copy any particular
country but will put in place a system that is right for Wales.
changes your life completely. It has given my husband back his wife,
my parents back their daughter. I am now a wife, sister, and tea,
daughter, not a patient. -- and. Joining me now is the cheer of the
assembly's health committee. He is this really going to make a
difference? Every single witness who comes in front of us says we
want to make sure the system increases the number of donors, the
number of organs available for donation. What you will also here
is a lot of concern from clinicians at the sharp end who say we do not
have the capacity for this. That would be true whatever course you
took to increased ownership. It is equally possible to argue that the
issue is not intrinsic to the bill. If you raised the number of donors
in any other way you would still have the same issue. You cannot do
this unless you increase resources. Everybody knows that up and down
the land it is difficult to find a bed under the existing system.
ambition for the Bill is that it would lead to 15 new donors have
been Wales in every calendar year. That has won every six months. Is
it likely to tip the system into a manageability? We are very generous
people on the hall. Voluntary donations and Wales at the second
highest in Europe, that begs the question why do we need to do this?
That is a debate that has been raised with us, would there be an
easier way to lead to more organ donors? You will also know that
because of a lot of these specialist procedures they will
have to happen over the border. Heart transplants take place in
Birmingham and so on. The whole thing needs to be joined up. There
is not a simple geographic border with something as specialist as
organ donation. Some of the practical issues about when they
are debated and Wendy are used are important. There are financial
implications in that. -- when they are used. The questions that are
being booked and challenged in that report, insufficient funding, has
not been clearly thought through, we are ploughing our own furrow
when we should not be, we have to be joined up. We do have to be
joined up. I do not think we have heard evidence that suggests the
financial implications have not been thought through. It has been
confirmed what the Government said to us that if we invest more in
organ donation we will save money we are currently spending on a very
unsatisfactory quality of life for people, kidney dialysis for example.
That money will be released back into the donor service. There are
people out with placards campaigning every week to keep
their health services opened yet you want to introduce a whole new
service on top of that. The flaw in the question is that it assumes the
money that is being spent on donation is not being spent already.
People who will be fitter from the extra donations are people who are
being treated now in the NHS. you very much indeed. Most of us at
the moment are looking very suspiciously at what is on our
plate. The horsemeat scandal has been dogging us for weeks and there
are still products disappearing from our shelves over this weekend.
Now worries about the meat that is supplied to schools across the
country. What can be done to restore faith in the food we eat
and what can be done with one of her most important industries,
farming. I am joined by an The AM who is also a farmer. It was
suggested that ministers were warned about this scandal with
course make being in the food chain 18 months ago. Consumer confidence
is so important. There are stories coming out from all sorts of angles.
It is important that ministers focus on the job in hand, making
sure confidence is restored in the processing sector. What is
important is that ministers do the job properly. If it is true they
were warned 18 months ago that there was horsemeat in the food
chain why on Earth did they not take action then? The key point is,
if it were true. What I am interested in and concerned about
is that we focus all our energies on cleaning up the act of the
processors. This is not about journalism or the media but about
public confidence in the food chain. That has been very badly shaken.
The Government has a role to play, has it not? We need to restore
confidence. From the primary sector of the farming side, we are
regulated, we have the checks in place. People can have complete
confidence. What we have found is because of the difference in the
price of meat and horsemeat people have been fraudulently adding
horsemeat to beef. People have to be brought to book on this and I
hope they are charged with the full Fraudulent activity has happened,
we have to make sure that is pushed out of the sector. We have good
bring back the confidence the consumer has in the food industry.
What is the Welsh Government doing? The Welsh Government needs to work
collaboratively with Whitehall, because there are two spheres of
influence, animal welfare legislation and consumer of
legislation. But the consumer does not want to hear bickering, they
want to hear it has been cleaned up and they can produce a product with
complete confidence. Can you honestly say at the moment that
they can do that? Yes, if they are just a product that has been
produced at home, has the former steward label on it, they can put
us that with confidence. -- has the a steward label on it.
Thank you very much indeed. G and on next week's programme, we
will have a special investigation into our food, tracking it from the
farm to your plate. Poverty in Wales and the gap
between the haves and there have nots in society is widening. Is it
really a fact of life that can never be changed gimlet after
benefiting from countless European and Government schemes, some parts
of Wales still seemed to be pop -- stat in a poverty trap. Our
correspondent is investigating the many local schemes to combat
deprivation. Several years since his last visit and millions of
pounds of investment later, David has returned to one area to find
that while initiatives have changed the level of poverty seemingly has
An invisible pall of poverty hangs over places like this estate. Set
in beautiful countryside just outside Merthyr Tydfil, it remains
socially isolated and invariably singled out as the epicentre of
multiple deprivation in Wales and all that goes with it.
Statistically, this is a pretty ugly place, relegated to the wrong
end of every table used to measure everything from unemployment to
education, to health, to crime, and It fills me with sadness to have
become back to this place and say the same things over, and over
again. But, despite the efforts of remarkable individuals, despite the
investment of millions of Pounds in worthwhile projects, and despite
the promise of politicians of all colours, the same stench of poverty
purveyed this place. -- pervades this place.
It is a malignancy that threatens to side and we consume its host.
Some have even suggested we should give up on this estate.
-- threatened to silently consumed. More Martin O'Neill, who was
brought up you, does not think so. He is the chair of a community
project, a beacon of hope in an island of despair.
The problems people face here are sometimes too subtle to quantify,
but those who live here at know what is missing, including
essentials like a health centre. They had won, but then they took it
away. -- they had a health centre. He the building was quite old and
money needed to be spent on upgrading the infrastructure to
make it fit for purpose. There is no health centre now?
Not on the estate, no. In one of the sickest communities
in the UK? Are on top of that there has been a
planned new health centre of built in the centre of Merthyr Tydfil,
but the problem is getting there. The Community Group has helped to
transform this place and transformed the heart of the
community. It was once known as a route. Now the graffiti spells out
something different, a belief in some kind of future. For many, it
is a future dependent on benefits. If you have to move into employment,
if you have to move to to education, sometimes you need some support. If
you were sick, you need support. Benefits have been a way of life
here for as long as I can remember. Benefits - what does that would
mean? Who has benefited from living in a place like this? -- what does
that would mean. Every time I have come here over the last 30 years,
it is to report people suffering, people struggling and people trying
definitely -- desperately to overcome problems that threaten to
overwhelm them. The lucky ones escape, most don't. Instead they
struggle with the consequences. Statistics are an impersonal
measure of what is happening here, that they are stuck. One in
particular hit me forcibly - in the last ten years, the number of
people who have never worked on this estate has almost doubled to
over 500 people. The you are familiar with these,
employment rates in Merthyr Tydfil below 60%. This is the second
lowest are amongst 12 -- 22 Welsh local authorities. Then on it goes
- health, crime, the same old stories. Nothing much has moved,
has it? No, it is not moving, but those numbers have to be
appreciated in the face of a global economic recession. Without that
investment, where would the fakers be? Back in the 1920s, they talked
about abandoning the police. Is that really an option, or should we
think about how to address the issues we are facing and not
abandoned the community? There have been schemes which have tried to
introduce some practical solutions come and give some hope to this
place. Schemes like a cooking project,
I remember this. This was a busy place.
Diane succeeded in injecting more than just cooking skills into this
project. The ones we had done a week or two
of Coke -- of cooking, we thought, why don't we do IT next? Why don't
we do English? Somebody wants to do child development. The cooking
classes opened up a new way of life for many single young mothers, who
freely admitted that they had never learned to cook and usually fed
their children with takeaways and chips. Lots of chips.
Chips, chips, chips. It is much easier doing a healthy salad than
ordering out takeaways continuously. The cooking project, which I filmed
six years ago, has long gone. Its effectiveness in transforming the
lives of a handful of individuals, however, has not been forgotten.
But the transient nature of such schemes, vital in areas of
deprivation, is both regrettable and hurtful.
It is no good stopping projects and letting people down, because we are
probably doing more damage than good. If somebody is engaging with
you and trusting in you, to then send them away and saying we cannot
do anything more with you, I think There is still investment going on
in this place, including extensive refurbishment work on the
infrastructure of the social housing. Long overdue. There is the
prospect of another �1.5 million worth of investment in community
schemes over the next two years. But it was hoped there would be
more than double that amount available. And, to compound the
financial problems, many areas here have found they no longer Pok --
qualified for communities first funding, provided by the Welsh
Government. Just when there appeared to be a
glimmer of hope and the estate was looking a lot better, at least
cosmetically, it was dealt another blow. Well, in fact, a double
whammy in the shape of the global financial crisis and the
Westminster Government's welfare reforms. A combination which
threatens to combine, to destabilise the social structure of
this place and undo so much of the good that has been done to try and
improve the lives of the people here.
David Williams there. Training now is the Children's Commissioner for
Wales, who is particularly concerned about how we are tackling
child poverty. It is a depressing story that,
isn't it? Do we just have to accept that children born into that kind
of poverty are going to have to look forward to a life of poverty
GMac I do not think we should accept it at all, some of the
things that came through it in the film is that people are working
really hard to mitigate the effects of poverty on children living in
disadvantaged families. The Welsh Government has signed up
to the UN Convention on the rights of the child. The only Government
across the UK, or the world, do have legislated in favour of the
Convention. That places a responsibility on Welsh Government
to think about the ways we can ensure all young people, regardless
of their circumstances, can get access to education and decent food.
A but we keep setting targets. The Welsh Government has set the target
of eradicating child poverty by 2020, is and that on realistic?
It is completely unrealistic now to think we will never hold on to the
target for 2020. Children's lives are at risk because of this, I
spend a lot of time talking to children talking to them about what
is important to them, and things like a decent education and good
food to eat or important to them. Are we also guilty of giving people
hope, an idea, an ambition? Absolutely, I think education is
all about making sure every child can fulfil their individual
potential. One of the most depressing lines about that film
was that back in the 1920s people were talking about giving up on
Merthyr Tydfil, and some people are talking about that today.
Some people are, but I would say, come with me there, some of the
best time of my life has been on the estate.
Of course, the effects of poverty are not only measured by levels of
employment and the food we feed our children. Hard times call for belt-
tightening across all aspects of life, including leisure time. With
less money available for cinema trips and local libraries are under
threat, Welsh Opera John Gower has been on a trip to the riverfront
theatre of and arts centre in Newport to voice his concerns that
will children are falling into cultural poverty. -- Welsh author
You can get a pretty good sense of how old a person is by asking them
which was the first James Bond movie they ever saw. In my case, it
was Dr no, which I saw in the classic fleapit cinema of the
Palace Theatre in Llanelli. Since then, there have been periods in my
life when you could describe be as a semi-professional movie Gore,
racking up to four or five films a day. Some children in Wales have
never been to the cinema because of poverty. No blockbusters, no All
Disney, no popcorn, sometimes because there is no cinema nearby,
or simply because ticket prices are prohibitive. Because in Wales up to
a quarter of children live within child poverty.
When we are talking about child poverty, we're not just talking
about education and nutrition, although cultural experience can be
a sort of nutrition. I would go as far as to see it is food for the
soul, but it is also educational, Imagination and creativity have
enormous value in the real world. The Confederation of British
Industry reckons that in 2013 there will be no fewer than 1.3 million
jobs in the creative industries. But you are not going to get on in
pretty much any industry if you cannot read and write, and
illiteracy, which shut people out of learning, is a new plate on our
communities. It is like locking the door on the world of books and
throwing away the key. -- is a new light. I am not sure where things
started to go wrong. When I grew up, learning was held
in very high regard in Wales and we were exporting teachers as much as
coal and steel. Now, Ilott to wreak -- illiteracy is a new scourge, and
stories from Hans Christian Andersen to Charles Dickens are
being locked away from our children. Horizon's contract and there as a
poverty of ambition, too. -- horizons contract.
It could not be impossible to show some of the world's great films or
include some of the finest stories between the covers of a book in the
classroom, should it? I try and imagine my own life without such
things, and it is a poverty beyond imagining.
Well, the Children's Commissioner for Wales is still with me. Is he
right? For I think he is absolutely right about cultural poverty, and
he is absolutely right about children and young people not
getting access to those things. I did a fantastic piece of work
this year with kids in museums, where museums were looking at
developing a new relationship between themselves and children.
What we saw from that was the rich breadth of experience that children
and families got from it, and understanding of their cultural
history and their contribution as artists, creators and writers.
But we have to get them literate, first of all, and there are
worrying reports. In Merthyr Tydfil, they are expecting a report to, it
with 40% illiteracy by the age of 11. That is not good, is it?
Yes, and there was an interested -- interesting piece of work in 2011
looking at a disadvantage areas, and they welcomed those schools
making that extra mile making sure children were exposed to trips to
art galleries, theatres, cinemas, making sure children are exposed to
the arts. Because if we can inspire young minds it gives us hope for
the future? Absolutely. If the arts is the thing that locks the key --
unlocked sticky, fantastic. That is it for this programme, I
will be back on Wednesday night investigating how a con man
claiming to help war veterans was able to get his hands on a large