South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has given his backing to new legislation that will mean Scotland shifting to an “opt-out” system for organ donation in Scotland.
The local MSP voted in favour of the principles of the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill in Parliament yesterday (26 February 2019).
At present, people must “opt in” by registering to donate their organs for transplants after they die.
Under the Bill before the Scottish Parliament, it will be assumed people are in favour of donation unless they have stated otherwise. However, the Bill does includes provisions to make sure the wishes of families and next of kin continue to be respected, and excludes children and adults who do not have the capacity to understand the rules.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “At present around 80% of people say they would donate organs but only 50% are actually registered to do so. Many people who want to donate after they die aren’t on the register simply because they didn’t get round to filling in a form. But with more than 500 people waiting for a transplant, which could save or transform their lives, it means that people are dying unnecessarily waiting for organs and people who actually wanted to donate just haven’t been registered. Under this new law more people will be registered and more lives will be saved. Everyone would still have the right to opt out and after they die the wishes of their families and next of kin continue to be respected”.