Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Thursday, 1 November 2012

Presumed consent organ donation debate

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said "it is time for the Scottish government and Scottish Parliament to take decisive action" on introducing presumed consent for organ donation, during his member's debate on 1 November 2012.

Mr Gibson told the chamber 43 people in Scotland died last year while awaiting for an organ transplant despite 90% of the population backing organ donation.

The Cunninghame South MSP applauded the 'Respect My Dying Wish campaign' by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde urging people who wish to donate their organs after death to tell their loved ones of their desire so that their wishes can be respected.

Also the Evening Times have launched an 'Opt For Life campaign' which is calling for a change to a system of presumed consent with all the necessary safeguards built in to protect those who do not wish to take part.

Mr Gibson said that one deceased person could potentially "give a new lease of life to a dozen people".

He also said that presumed consent would have a "soft opt out" for those who did not want to donate their organs and also safeguards put in place.

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson made an extremely moving and personal contribution to parliament about his late daughter Caroline, who became an organ donor after her tragic death.

Mr Robertson said:"I feel that my daughter gave life to another" and had "given an ability for a new life" by donating her corneas to allow someone to live life as fully as possible.

He said MSPs should support presumed consent and it should one day be part of the legislative programme.

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw said whilst he remained sympathetic to the idea of presumed consent he was yet to be persuaded of it.

"I ask members to consider what it would actually involve - it would actually involve every adult member in society being contacted and having to make a concious decision and for all that information to be collected and processed without error."

In another very moving contribution, Labour MSP Mark Griffin explained his backing for presumed consent by explaining what happened to his father, who died after a heart transplant at the age of 47.

Mr Griffin stressed this was not due to any failure of care, but the stress his father's heart condition put on his other organs over 10 years.

The Labour MSP said "of course it's naive to expect everyone to survive" but it was "common sense" organ donation gave people "the best chance of survival".

He called for a "push for presumed consent" like the Welsh government was introducing as it would immediately boost the number of organ donations and save lives.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said that progress had been made without an opt out system at present.

Mr Matheson said that an organ donation committee had been established in every NHS board in Scotland, seven organ donation specialist nurses had been appointed and high profile publicity campaigns continued to be run.

The public health minister also said that the Scottish government felt that "opt out is not completely off the agenda" and there was a commitment to review this position across the UK in 2013.

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