Presumed Consent For Organ Donation Backed By MSPs

1 February 2019, 08:54

Organ donation

MSPs have backed proposals which would see Scotland move to a system of presuming consent for organ donations.

The Health and Sport Committee has been considering the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill, which was introduced in June last year.

Under current legislation, donors must choose to "opt-in" in order for their organs to be donated, with many people carrying a donor card.

The proposed new system would assume an individual consents to donation unless they have stated otherwise.

Having heard evidence from members of the public and a range of stakeholders, including witnesses from Wales where a similar "opt out" system was introduced in 2015, the committee concluded it would give its support to the Bill.

Scottish Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald, convener of the committee, said: "It is the committee's view that moving to a system of consent being presumed is the correct approach and this Bill can help to alleviate some existing uncertainties around donation.

"However, it is important to recognise this Bill alone will not increase donation rates and the committee have stated a continued awareness raising campaign is required so that people are familiar and comfortable with this change.

"This will ensure everyone can have confidence in this new approach while engagement should be ongoing and include targeting harder to reach groups.

"We have also recommended the Scottish Government look closely at the current infrastructure in hospitals around organ transplantation as well as the checks undertaken before a transplant can proceed.

"The committee also wished to ensure the services available to support patients on the transplant list, recipients of organs and families involved were enhanced to provide greater support."