Beginning Tuesday, adults in Wales will be considered consenting to organ donation unless they opt out. This new “soft opt-out” system was called a “groundbreaking step which will save lives,” by health Minister Mark Drakeford.

The Welsh government claims the change in law, the first such move in the UK, could lead to a 25 percent increase in the number of organs available for transplant. Patients awaiting procedures have welcomed the change, but the policy has garnered critics in the Welsh Conservatives and Church in Wales, who say the system may be confusing.

Under the new system, those age 18 and over who have lived in Wales for more than 12 months and die in the country will become potential donors — their consent is assumed. People can also register their decision to opt in (the current system) or decide to opt out. More than one million people, or about 34 percent of the Welsh population, have already opted in, and 86,000 have opted out.

Drakeford told The Guardian that the policy change is groundbreaking. “The latest figures show 14 people died last year in Wales while waiting for a transplant,” he said. “The change to a soft opt-out system for organ donation will deliver a revolution in consent. Organ donation saves lives; increasing the rate of organ donation allows us to save more lives.”

Meanwhile, Welsh conservatives’ health spokesman, Darren Millar, wasn’t so sure. “I remain to be convinced that switching to an opt-out organ donation system will deliver the sea change in donation rates that the Welsh government has promised,” he said. He cited a failure of the government to explain the new system, “including the fact that under the new arrangements family members do not have the right to stop organs being removed, even if it is against their wishes.”

The government said that family and friends may not overrule their loved one if they register their decision, but if family members inform medical staff of a loved one’s objection to organ donation and the person had not opted in, the donation would not go ahead. The government insists, however, that the objection must be based on the views of the deceased.

Currently, there are 224 people on the waiting list for organs in Wales, including eight children. While the Welsh government hopes the policy change will positively benefit those waiting for organs, the UK government and administrations in Scotland and Ireland are holding off to see how the Welsh plan works out.

A Department of Health spokesperson said, “We are watching how the change in Wales impacts on donations and continue to work hard to build on the significant increase in organ donations achieved in recent years.”