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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 January 2008, 17:46 GMT
'Sympathy' for organ donor change
Operating theatre
The organ donation taskforce will issue its report shortly
Scottish ministers have re-stated their position that they are sympathetic to removing organs from dead patients without their explicit consent.

The comments came after Prime Minister Gordon Brown signalled his support for the practice of presumed consent.

Scots Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the shortage of organs for transplant was an increasing problem.

Holyrood ministers are committed to implementing recommendations from a UK taskforce on overhauling the system.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Brown said that allowing hospitals to take organs - unless people opted out of the scheme or their family objected - could help thousands of people waiting for transplants.

Scotland still has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the EU
Nicola Sturgeon
Scottish health secretary

MSPs have already rejected plans for a presumed consent system north of the border, when parliament was updating legislation in the area, under the previous government.

The organ donation taskforce will next week make 14 recommendations to the Scottish Government and other UK administrations - such as the recruitment of extra donor transplant coordinators - which aim to increase organ donation by half within five years.

The measures could, Holyrood ministers argued, result in an extra 120 transplants a year in Scotland and save hundreds of lives.

'Serious consideration'

Although the taskforce is considering the issue of presumed consent separately, the health secretary said: "I want to repeat that I am sympathetic towards the idea of introducing a system of presumed consent.

"The shortage of donor organs for transplantation is an increasing problem and we are determined to address this."

She went on: "This is an issue that many people already give serious consideration to and it's impressive that more Scots have put their names on the Organ Donor Register than in any other part of the UK.

"Despite this, Scotland still has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the EU and it's clear that we need to do much more to increase the number of donors."

SEE ALSO
MSPs reject organ donor opt-out
02 Feb 06 |  Scotland

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