Scotland to introduce soft opt-out system for organ donation

THE GUARDIAN | Severin Carell
An NHS organ donor card. Wales introduced a presumed consent system for organ donation in 2015. Photograph: BRD Associates
Scottish ministers are to introduce a new system of organ donations based on presumed consent in an effort to increase life-saving organ transplants.

Ministers in Edinburgh announced plans on Wednesday to introduce a “soft opt-out” system, where patients are assumed to agree to donate useful organs unless their families strongly object.

The change of policy follows the introduction in Wales of a presumed consent systemin December 2015, which led to a rise in organ donations and an increase in the number of families agreeing to donations.

Last year there were 39 organs transplanted in Wales using its deemed consent system out of 160 organ transplants. Only 6% of people opted out of the system.

Aileen Campbell, the Scottish health minister, said recent campaigns and work with patients’ families had already led to an increase of 146% in the number of donation since 2007. This reform would improve the rate further.

“We should not forget that organ donation is a gift, which can only occur as a result of tragic circumstances and every donor and their family has made a selfless decision which has enabled others to live,” she said. Continue reading

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