Public polling backs opt-out organ donation system
SCOTLAND SHOULD change its policy requiring an opt-in approach to organ donation following new evidence that the public back an opt-out approach, according to the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
A new survey by the British Medical Association (BMA) found that two thirds of people in the UK (65 per cent) support a so-called ‘soft’ opt-out organ donation system.
There is a general cross-party consensus on the issue at the Scottish Parliament. However, agreement has yet to be reached on the details of a change to the medical system – which can sometimes encounter sensitive ethical and legal issues.
LibDem health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Less than 10 per cent of people carry a donor card yet this survey shows a majority of the public are comfortable with the idea of an opt-out system.
“With public support and so many patients in need, Scottish Ministers should bring forward legislation for an opt-out organ donation system as soon as their consultation concludes.” Alex Cole-Hamilton
“Assumed consent for organ donation could provide a lifeline for hundreds of patients. Research suggests that since Anne McTaggart’s bill fell, as many as 60 Scots have died for want of an organ that could have been available under an opt-out system.
“Liberal Democrats in Wales have championed the opt-out system and it has had a massive impact on patients and their families waiting for life-saving transplants.
“With public support and so many patients in need, Scottish Ministers should bring forward legislation for an opt-out organ donation system as soon as their consultation concludes.”
A Transplantation Bill was brought forward by Labour MSP Anne McTaggart, but this was narrowly rejected by 59 votes to 56. The SNP government has pledged to bring forward proposals on the issue.
“Our presumption is in favour of taking an opt out system forward as part of a long- term process of culture change to encourage people to support donation.” Minister Aileen Campbell
The Scottish Government has pointed out that organ donation has doubled between 2007 and 2014, and that over 40 per cent of the population has registered. Statistics also show that a large number of organ donations do not come from registered donors. However, hundreds of people can still be left waiting on the organ transplant waiting list.
A government consultation on the issue is ongoing for another fortnight.
Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport, said: “Our presumption is in favour of taking an opt out system forward as part of a long- term process of culture change to encourage people to support donation. However, I am keen to hear your views on these proposals and others in this consultation so I would encourage you to respond to the questions we raise.”
Picture courtesy of Magnus D
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