Scottish Labour’s Drew Smith MSP has announced support for a soft opt-out system of organ donation in Scotland, akin to that approved this week by the National Assembly for Wales. The Assembly approved legislation for a system whereby residents are presumed to consent to the donation of their organs upon their death unless they formally opt-out beforehand.
The Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill was put forward by the minority Welsh Government and received wide support from Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats. Only eight members of the Welsh Assembly voted against the legislation, each representing the Welsh Conservative Party. Upon its implementation in 2015, it will be the first organ donation system of its kind in the UK.
Smith hopes Scotland “can follow in Welsh footsteps” and proposes to put forward a private member’s bill to legislate for it, urging the SNP to provide “the government support to make this happen”. He said a soft opt-out scheme “will save lives” while ensuring that “the wishes of individuals are paramount”.
He added: “The sensitive nature of the debate and the way in which the Welsh Assembly has deliberated about this is a testament as to how these discussions can take place in a considered way, which ensures that we have the fullest possible debate and information so that the arguments on either side are well understood by all.”