Scotland

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New organ donation law will save lives

BMA Scotland has long voiced its support for the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill, which will see all eligible adults across Scotland automatically added to the NHS Organ Donor Register, unless they do not wish their organs donated in which case they will be able to opt out.

Dr Sue Robertson, who is a kidney specialist at Dumfries Renal Unit said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the passing of the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament and I believe that precious lives will be saved as a result of this landmark legislation.

“The BMA has been calling for an opt-out model of organ donation for 20 years and it is great to see that we are now closer to that position.

“At the end of March 2019 there were 581 people in Scotland waiting for life-saving transplants – with the introduction of this new law I am hopeful that more people than ever before will receive the organs they so desperately need.

“I applaud the Scottish Government – and all the MSPs who voted in the Bill’s favour – for its commitment to implementing an opt-out model in Scotland.

“I also believe that over time organ donation will become the norm, with more people having discussions with their families about their wishes and a more positive attitude towards donation within society.”

Under an opt-out system, everyone is presumed to be an organ donor unless they choose to opt-out during their lifetime. Crucially, this model provides individuals with exactly the same choice as the current opt-in organ donation system – to donate or not to donate; it is simply the default position that changes.