Kenneth Gibson is urging constituents to give their views on organ and tissue donation following the launch of the SNP Government’s new 14 week consultation which examines various ways to increase the number of people referred to the donation services in Scotland.
The consultation asks whether the current system for authorising organ and tissue donation should be changed. Currently in Scotland, organ and/or tissue donation after a person’s death only occurs if they have given advance authorisation or if their nearest relative authorises on their behalf. A 'soft opt out', or 'deemed authorisation' system is being explored whereby donation can proceed if the person has not opted out or told their family they do not wish to donate.
The Consultation will also look at whether clinicians should be given guidance on referring potential donors, so that the possibility of donation can be explored at an earlier opportunity.
Commenting, Kenneth said:
“NHS Scotland has achieved huge success in increasing donations in recent years. Since April this year, there have been 85 organ donations from people who have passed away compared to 60 over the same period last year. However, that is not enough, which is why I have argued for a system of ‘soft opt out' since the Scottish Parliament re-convened in 1999. People are dying while waiting for a transplant and so, for me, adoption of ‘soft opt out’ cannot come soon enough!
“The SNP Government is asking the public whether a ‘soft opt out’ system is preferable to the current system where a person must explicitly opt in to donation. Such a system already exists in Wales and this is being monitored carefully to learn lessons from their experience.
“I encourage everyone to submit their views to this consultation to help inform and shape the policy on organ and tissue donation. Organ donation saves lives and is one of the greatest gifts a person can give.”
Scotland’s Lead Clinician for Organ Donation, Dr Iain Macleod, added:
“I welcome this consultation as an opportunity to discuss ways of increasing organ and tissue donation and hear views from a wide range of people.
“As a doctor working in the Intensive Care Unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary I know how sensitive and challenging organ donation can be, both for families going through the devastating process of losing a loved one and for NHS staff. I also know how important donation is in saving and transforming the lives of hundreds of transplant recipients in Scotland every year and how much comfort it can give to donors’ families over time to know that their loved one has helped save the lives of others.”
The consultation can be found here.
• The consultation will run from 7 December 2016 to 14 March 2017.
• There were 99 deceased organ donors in 2015-16 (some of whom also donated tissue/ corneas), along with an additional 19 tissue only donors and 118 cornea donors.
• There have already been 85 deceased organ donors between April and November 2016 compared to 60 in the same period last year.
• As at 04 December 2016, there were 531 people in Scotland on the active transplant waiting list.
• Currently in Scotland, organ and tissue donation after a person’s death only occurs if the person made clear in advance that they wished to be a donor, for example by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register, or where their nearest relative authorises the donation on their behalf.
• Anyone wishing to join the Organ Donor Register can do so by visiting the Organ Donation Scotland website. This website can also be used by those who wish to update their registration details or to register their wish not to be a donor.