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Doctors urge opt-out system for organ donors



By Shaunna Whitters


DOCTORS have called for an opt-out system in Scotland to fit Scots views on organ donation.

Currently 650 Scottish people are on the waiting list for a transplant but some will die before they receive the new organ. Although, some people have died before they have reached the waiting list.

The British Medical Association (BMA), who has long called for a soft opt-out system to be implemented, has said it was time for a “serious debate” on the issue.

Numerous studies throughout the years has shown there is a 90% support from the Scottish public of organ donation but only 40% of the population has signed up to the register.

The soft opt-out system would take into account the views of the relatives. They would be informed that the deceased has not opted out of organ donation and unless they object, the donation would proceed.   It is thought this process could save thousands of lives.

Dr Sue Robertson, a renal physician and a member of the BMA’s Scottish Council said: “Organ transplantation is an area that has seen amazing medical achievements but has not yet reached its full life-saving and life-transforming potential.

“As doctors it is difficult to see our patients dying and suffering when their lives could be saved or dramatically improved by a transplant.

“It is important that an individual’s views on organ donation are taken into account following their death.

Gill Hollis feels passionate about the opt-out system after she received a lung transplant which saved her life. She said: “I wouldn’t be here today without my transplant, so I am incredibly grateful to my donor family; their generosity saved my life. But I was one of the lucky ones – I received my transplant in time.

“I’ve also supported people through the waiting process who did not receive an organ in time, and that’s been heart-breaking.

“An opt-out system would mean that more people could have their lives saved and transformed.”

The BMA are urging Scots to sign up to the Organ Donor Register for Valentine’s Day and to discuss their wishes with those closest to them.

Ms Hollis added: “It is vital that people talk to their loved ones about their wishes and discuss openly their views on organ donation so that, if the time comes, they can make a decision which reflects the individual’s wishes.”


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