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Time to Change the Law on Organ Donation

Time to Change the Law on Organ Donation

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.

Mark said:

“90% of Scots are in favour of organ donation but only 43% are registered donors. Urgent steps must be taken to give those waiting for organs the best chance possible for a fuller, healthier life. Moving to a different system of organ donation will save lives across Scotland. Rather than leading the UK on this issue, Scotland is now trailing behind other countries like Wales. The Welsh approach of presumed consent has seen a significant increase in the number of organs available for transplant, something that has saved 30% more lives since it became law in December 2015.

“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.”

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