Scotland

Last updated:

BMA Scotland welcomes Scottish Government plan for organ donation soft opt out

BMA Scotland has welcomed the announcement today [Wednesday 28 June 2017] that the Scottish Government will bring forward legislation to introduce a soft opt-out system of organ donation.  

BMA Scotland has long advocated a shift to a ‘soft’ opt-out system in which adults – who have been well informed of the options – can choose to opt-out of organ donation during their lifetime.  Individuals have exactly the same choice as under an opt-in system, but the default position changes. Unless an individual objects to donation their organs can be used after death to benefit others. 

BMA Scotland supports the principle that everyone has, and would retain, the right to refuse to donate their organs after death and to have that wish respected. Opt-out would enhance individual choice - by making it more likely that the majority of the population who say when asked in surveys that they would wish to donate, will have their wishes fulfilled.

Dr Peter Bennie, Chair of BMA Scotland, said:

“Organ transplantation is an area that has seen amazing medical achievements but has not yet reached its full life-saving and life-transforming potential.  

“The whole transplant community has worked tremendously hard to increase donation rates but we believe that more can be done.  As doctors it’s difficult to see our patients suffering and dying when their lives could be saved or dramatically improved by a transplant.  

“We believe that genuine choice over organ donation can be facilitated through a soft opt-out system.  If properly implemented, with adequate resources and staff, and backed up by a high profile campaign, an opt-out system could save or transform peoples’ lives.  We look forward to contributing to this important legislation.”

A letter from Minister for Public Health Aileen Campbell MSP to the Health & Sport Committee confirming plans for legislation can be viewed at http://www.parliament.scot/S5_HealthandSportCommittee/General%20Documents/20170628_Letter_from_Minister_for_PH_re_organ_donation_consultation.pdf