TONIGHT, AMs voted through historic changes to the organ donation system in Wales.

The lights were about to go out in the Senedd when AMs voted to bring in an opt out system for organ donation which will be the first of its kind in the UK.

The system is based on the idea of presumed consent - people will be deemed to have consented to donate their organs after death unless they have previously stated otherwise.

The aim is to increase the number of donor organs available to people waiting for a transplant, for instance for a heart, lungs, kidney or liver.

Health minister Mark Drakeford said the decision is an historic one for Wales.

"This is a progressive policy for a progressive nation," he said "this bill has demonstrated the huge strengths of this Assembly and it also reflects the dedication of people in Wales to the gift relationship. It also offers hope to people who have no other."

AMs voted 43 in favour of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill - with eight against and two abstentions.

A near five-hour debate reflected the sensitivities AMs have grappled with during the bill's passage into law.

After Royal Assent is granted in late summer, there will be a two-year lead in which will be dominated by awareness campaigns to alert people to a fundamental change.

Conservative AMs were allowed a free vote but many were concerned that the bill does not offer families a strong enough role in decision-making.

Shadow minister for health, Conservative Darren Millar, said a 'soft' opt out system originally proposed and promised by the Welsh Government was not represented in the bill as family involvement was not strong enough.

Prof Drakeford said family involvement could only be on the basis of the known the views of the deceased, and not on the views of family members. Annual reports of the progress of the system will be made.

Tory AM Angela Burns also wanted a commitment for a targeted awareness campaign in schools for 15 to 17-year-olds.

This proposal was voted down, though Prof Drakeford made a verbal commitment to working closely with schools and higher education on the issue.