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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 January 2008, 01:42 GMT
Call for organ donation opt-out
Every year people die while waiting for a transplant
Scotland needs to move to an "opt-out" system for organ donation as soon as possible to save lives which are being lost every year, a Labour MSP has said.

Lothians MSP George Foulkes has called on people to sign up to the organ donor register and back his calls for a move to presumed consent by the end of 2008.

About 800 people are waiting for a transplant in Scotland every year.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said last month she was sympathetic to calls for a "presumed consent" system.

The move would mean people having to opt out if they did not want their organs to be taken for transplantation after their death.

We should not wait until it is too late to make a difference
Lord Foulkes

Lord Foulkes said: "Every day someone in the UK dies waiting for an organ transplant and the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to turn this statistic around.

"Some of us were fortunate enough to be able to give and receive gifts this Christmas but everyone has the ability to give the most important gift of all beyond the festive season, the gift of life."

He continued: "I understand that people don't like to think of their own death, but by signing the register they are committing to giving life and that I hope is what will motivate people to sign up and give something back.

"At any point in our lives, we or someone we know could be affected by organ transplantation and we should not wait until it is too late to make a difference."

He called for people to start the new year by offering hope to those affected by organ transplantation and to join his push for a system of presumed consent by the end of 2008.

In a British Medical Association Scotland survey in October 74% of people supported a system of presumed consent.

It also found that while 69% of those questioned said they would be willing to donate their organs for transplantation after their death, only 25% of respondents in Scotland said they were on the NHS organ donor register.

The register is available online at UK Transplant and currently has about a quarter of the UK population signed up.

Organ shortage 'will be tackled'
09 Dec 07 |  Scotland
'Support' for organ donor opt-out
18 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Organ donor plan under scrutiny
20 Sep 07 |  Health
New calls for organ donor opt-out
05 Jul 07 |  Scotland
MSPs reject organ donor opt-out
02 Feb 06 |  Scotland


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