MSPs to vote on ‘opt-out’ organ donation

A move to an ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation in Scotland is to be voted on by MSPs later, which will assume people were in favour of donation unless they have stated otherwise.

The bill before the Scottish Parliament is expected to pass as a majority of MSPs and Holyrood's health committee back the change. People currently must ‘opt in’ by registering to donate their organs for transplants after they die.

Despite record numbers of people registered to donate, it is hoped the move to an opt-out system - similar to the one adopted by Wales in 2015 - will lead to an increase in available organs. Approximately 550 people in Scotland are waiting for an organ transplant, which could save or transform their lives.

David McColgan, of the British Heart Foundation Scotland, said: "We already have the highest population registered to be donors [in the UK] but we also have the highest family refusal rate so this legislation will change that conversation, change the understanding of the situation.

"For example, in Wales over two years they have seen a 50 per cent increase in family consent so that is really important and that is what we hope the legislation will achieve here. But the legislation cannot be seen as a silver bullet and a solution on its own, so two of the big challenges which exist are training enough staff and having the suitable infrastructure for transplants."

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