MSPs Consider Organs Opt-Out Appeal

10 March 2015, 07:13 | Updated: 10 March 2015, 07:16

A petition urging the Scottish Government to introduce an opt-out system for organ donation will be considered by MSPs today.

Holyrood's Health and Sport Committee will look at the proposal, which emerged from an Evening Times and Kidney Research UK (Scotland) campaign.

Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has since gained the cross-party support needed to introduce a Members' Bill on the issue, which would amend the law in the way sought by the petition.

The Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill proposes a move from the current system in which people have to opt in to donate to a "soft'' opt-out approach Anne McTaggart in an effort to tackle a shortage of organs.

Under the plans, organs and tissues could be removed from an adult after death if they had not registered or expressed an objection during their lifetime.

The UK has one of the lowest organ donation rates in Europe and Scottish Government research suggests that while only 5% of the population oppose organ donation in principle, less than 40% are registered as organ donors.

Legislation has been passed in Wales to adopt an opt-out system from December 2015 but the Scottish Government has said it is not convinced of a need to change the law.

The petition was referred by the Public Petitions Committee last year as any legislation would likely be examined by the Health and Sport Committee.