Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart yesterday chaired a meeting of charities and medical organisations to discuss the introduction of an opt-out system for organ donation in Scotland.
Ms McTaggart intends to introduce a Members Bill at the Scottish Parliament which will seek to implement an opt-out system whereby those who do not wish to have their organs donated would have to opt-out of the scheme. The aim of the legislation is to increase the number organ donors in Scotland and therefore save lives.
Amongst the organisations represented were the British Heart Foundation, the British Medical Association Scotland, the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh, the Scottish Kidney Federation, and the South East Scotland Kidney Patients Association. Also present was Caroline Wilson, Senior Reporter at the Evening Times. The Evening Times have ran a campaign to introduce an opt-out system in Scotland and they have also brought a petition calling for this before Scottish Parliament.
Ms McTaggart said “I was delighted to chair this very important meeting. It was a great opportunity to bring together interested parties and discuss the importance of introducing an opt-out system. There was overwhelming agreement from those present that, despite the progress made by the Scottish Government over the past few years in increasing the number of people who have registered as donors, the best way forward to save more lives would be to introduce an opt-out system.
The Scottish Government want to wait and evaluate the situation in Wales, who have recently legislated to introduce an opt-out system in 2015. However there are already 16 other countries around the world who have an opt-out system, some of which have had the system in place for many years. I don’t see the need to delay this legislation any longer when this is the case. I believe the case for introducing a ‘soft’ opt-out system, whereby families would still have some input in the donation process, is compelling and I am eager to take this forward.
I would like to thank all those who attended the meeting for coming along and sharing their knowledge and experience. Introducing a Bill is a lengthy process and there are many hurdles ahead but I strongly believe that this would be the best step forward for Scotland and would result in less people tragically dying whilst waiting for a transplant. I am speaking in a debate on this issue at the Scottish Parliament next Thursday and I look forward to hearing the views of my fellows MSPs.”