Mark Griffin MSP's Bill on Organ Donation could be 'fast-tracked' if the Scottish Government fail to change the law to an 'soft opt-out' system.
The Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee agreed that Mr Griffin can pursue his plans without carrying out a consultation. A previous attempt by former MSP Anne McTaggart, was narrowly defeated in 2016.
Mr Griffin's father, Francis, died in 2007 just days after a heart operation, following a 10-year wait for an organ transplant.
The Scottish Government is carrying out its own consultation on a possible shift to a system of deemed consent, similar to a model that is working effectively in Wales. The consultation is due to end on 14 March 2017.
"Ministers are currently consulting on this issue. If they choose to move towards a soft opt-out model for organ donation, similar to Wales, I will support them in every way.
"However I have made clear that if they do not act, I will pursue legislation in the form of a Members' Bill.
"90% of Scots are in favour of organ donation, but only 43% are registered. Urgent steps must be taken to give those waiting for organs the best chance possible for a fuller, healthier life."
Councillors, Trades Unionists and community activists from across Central Scotland gathered outside the Scottish Parliament recently to campaign for a fair local government budget settlement.
The call comes as the Scottish Government outlined a package of funding cuts, which will have a significant impact on front-line services within communities.
Speaking after the protest, Mark said:
"The proposed cuts to council budgets for the forthcoming year is £327 million. This will have a devastating impact on jobs and vital front-line services.
"Derek Mackay’s budget will be a hammer-blow to our communities and it will hit the vulnerable hardest. I will not vote for a budget that cuts our public services and does not ask the richest few to pay their fare share. I will continue to advocate for a fair deal for our communities and actively fight these savage cuts."
Following months of turmoil on our rail network, and promises of improvement from Scottish Government Ministers, rail passengers continue to face misery, with new figures showing only 83% of trains arrived within 5 minutes of their scheduled time.
Mark Griffin MSP has yet again called on Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to take radical action to improve service provision. It comes as the Scottish Government have offered a week's free travel for Scotrail season ticket holders.
“Scotrail is encountering far too many problems, far too often and it is rail passengers in our community and across Scotland who are suffering as a consequence.
“I regularly experience problems, along with along with hundreds of constituents from Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, when trying to get to Glasgow or Edinburgh.
“The operator, Abellio, benefits from £1 million a month profits from Scottish taxpayers. Given the unacceptable level of service, it is no surprise that passengers do not feel they are getting a fair deal.
“Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said recently that he had ‘confidence’ in Scotrail’s improvement plan. We know that train drivers have already lost confidence in the Transport Minister and that Scotland’s passengers are losing confidence too. Passengers want an efficient service and offering a token gesture of free travel for a week will not deal with the crux of the problem.
“Nicola Sturgeon must intervene and take appropriate steps to resolve this growing crisis.”
Mark Griffin MSP has this week lodge a proposal to change the law to allow a ‘soft’ opt out system of organ donation.
The SNP government are currently consulting on changing the system on organ
donation, but voted against proposals brought forward by Labour in the last
parliament to change the law.
Mr Griffin, whose father Francis died in 2007 days after a heart operation following a 10-year wait for an organ transplant, will work with the SNP government to change the system, however if they do not bring forward changes he will take forward his own proposal.
Individual members’ Bills normally go through a consultation process, however given the work down by labour MSP Anne McTaggart in the last parliament, Mr Griffin’s will argue that his proposals could skip several stages of the parliamentary process and get to a vote in the chamber sooner than similar bills.
“My father died in 2007 after waiting 10 years for a heart transplant. When a suitable donor was finally found, it was too late. I believe he would still be alive today if he had his transplant.
“I want to work with the SNP Government to change the system, however if they do not bring forward changes I will press ahead with my own – that’s why I am lodging my proposal this week.
“These proposals have already been consulted on, scrutinised in parliament and the system is already up and running in Wales so it’s time to get a move on."
James Cant, Director of British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland, said:
“We welcome the introduction of Mark Griffin MSPs Bill to change organ donation laws in Scotland. BHF Scotland has long championed the introduction of a soft opt-out system for organ donation like the one now used in Wales.
“It is a sad fact that three people a day will die in need of an organ transplant. Whilst the Scottish Government has taken great strides to improve organ donor registration, the truth is we still lag behind in the follow through to donation.
“A BHF commissioned poll in September 2016 showed that nearly 60% of Scots prefer an opt-out system of donation to the current opt-in and this Bill will provide an opportunity to reignite the debate regarding opt out in Scotland.”
Statement from Mark Griffin MSP:
A well-resourced NHS is important to all of us. We need to be able to access services as locally as possible.
NHS Lanarkshire is currently consulting on a new Healthcare Strategy. The proposals will have implications for all of us living in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth and across Central Scotland. Given the potential impact of the plans, I had concerns that no public meeting was being held in Cumbernauld. I raised this issue with NHS Lanarkshire. I am pleased that they have now agreed to my request and a meeting will be held on Monday 24th October in Cumbernauld New Town Hall. Refreshments will be available from 6.30pm and the formal meeting will start at 6.50pm, ending at approximately 8.30pm.
I will be responding to the consultation based on the comments I have received from local people. These include concerns about services being moved away from Monklands Hospital, changes to the provision of orthopaedic services and the urgent need for more GP based services in Cumbernauld. I will also listen carefully to what is said at the meeting.
This is a very important issue, the outcome will shape helthcare services in our community for many years to come and I encourage you to attend the meeting on Monday 24th October.