Committee opposes organ donation opt-out plan

The Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee has said it does not support a proposed Bill to introduce an ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation,  published in a report today.

Currently the legislation in Scotland requires someone who wishes to donate their organs to opt-in through the donor card scheme. The proposed Bill would change this, and make an assumption that someone wished to donate their organs, unless they stated otherwise during their lives

In November 2015 HSS Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Gary McLelland, gave evidence to an informal meeting on the Health and Sport Committee, during which he said:
“It is a choice between doing what we can to save more lives by removing unnecessary barriers or continuing to leave barriers in the way.”

There is considerable evidence from other countries which have introduced an opt-out system, that it can help to increase the number of organs available for donation.

However the Committee said the majority of its members believed there was not enough clear evidence that changing to the specific opt-out system proposed by the bill would increase the number of donations.

However, it also said there “may be merit” in developing a “workable” opt-out system.

Duncan McNeil, the Committee chair, told BBC News:
“While the committee supported the aim behind the legislation, a majority couldn’t support the detail.”




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