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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 December 2007, 00:18 GMT
Organ shortage 'will be tackled'
Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon urged people to sign up to the donor register
The Scottish government is determined to tackle the "acute" shortage of organs for transplant, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Miss Sturgeon said she was also sympathetic to calls for a "presumed consent" system on the part of donors.

The UK-wide Organ Donation Task Force, aims to increase the number of organ donors by 50% over the next five years.

Ms Sturgeon said she wants to see Scotland move up the European organ donor league.

Miss Sturgeon said: "Despite the fact that 29% of the population now have their names on the Organ Donor Register, Scotland's donation rate is still one of the lowest in the EU.

"The shortage of donor organs for transplantation is an increasingly acute problem and we are determined to tackle this.

Saving lives

"I want everyone to seriously consider signing up to the register and for this important issue to become widely discussed."

The health secretary said that Scotland would play a key role in the task force's drive to increase donor rates.

"As I have already said, I am increasingly sympathetic towards the idea of introducing a system of presumed consent for organ donation and I welcome the fact that the task force is now considering the risks and benefits of this approach," she said.

"Making the decision to become an organ donor really can save lives and we are encouraging everyone to make the personal commitment to sign up to the organ donor register."

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