TV star Lorraine Kelly has thrown her support behind Anne McTaggart MSP’s proposals to introduce a soft opt-out system of organ donation in Scotland.
Her backing coincides with Ms McTaggart securing the right to formally introduce her Bill to the Scottish Parliament after the deadline for the Scottish Government to indicate whether or not they intended to bring forward similar legislation passed on Thursday.
Anne McTaggart MSP said:
“I’m delighted to have secured the right to introduce my proposal to Parliament and have Lorraine Kelly’s support for my Bill. She has done some fantastic work promoting organ donation in the past and I know her support is greatly appreciated by all those people who have received transplants and those who are on the waiting list.
“I’m now looking forward to introducing my Bill to Parliament and will relish the opportunity to put forward the case for positive change to my fellow MSPs. With three people dying across the UK whilst waiting for a transplant it’s clear that we need to change the system of organ donation here in Scotland.
“Scotland has the highest proportion of registered organ donors in the UK, with 41 per cent of the population registered in 2013/14. However, we have the second lowest donation rates across the four nations with only 20.3 donations per million people compared to 20.6 people per million in the rest of the UK.
“With a switch to soft opt-out we could help tackle this shortage of available organs and ultimately save lives.”
Lorraine Kelly said:
“I’m delighted to be able to offer my support for Anne’s proposals. I believe introducing a ‘soft opt-out’ system is important because despite their being widespread support for organ donation, less than half of Scotland’s population is registered on the NHS Organ Donation Register. With three people dying every day across the UK waiting for a transplant, it’s clear to me that we need to take a different approach.
“In the past, I’ve encouraged people to speak to their families about organ donation and I’m glad that I’ve had that discussion with my own loved ones. I hope that the introduction of a ‘soft opt-out’ system will encourage more people to make the decisions about donation during their lifetime and have this important conversation with family and friends.
“Being an organ donor is a unique opportunity for people to leave behind an amazing gift. Throughout the Opt for Life campaign, I’ve read some of the incredible stories of people who have been lucky enough to receive a successful transplant. The heart-breaking reality however is that 38 people died in Scotland in 2013/14 whilst waiting for a transplant. We need to stop this needless loss of life and that’s why I’m proud to be able to support Anne’s Bill.”