THE Evening Times' fight to change Scotland's transplant laws is to go before the Health Committee at the Scottish Parliament.

A panel of MSPs voted yesterday to keep our petition for an opt-out system open pending further scrutiny.

The decision by the Public Petitions Committee will strengthen a political campaign by Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart calling for the change.

Ms McTaggart is preparing to launch the findings of the public consultation into her proposed Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill, which was set up on the back of the Evening Times' campaign. Early indications suggest that most public responses are in favour of her proposals.

Petitions committee convener David Stewart praised our petition, which was first lodged in 2012.

He said: "I would like to thank the Evening Times on all the work they have done. It's a first class petition.

"I am delighted Anne McTaggart is now taking this forward. This may not have happened without the petition."

Around 550 people in Scotland are waiting for a transplant. Currently you have to join a register if you wish to be an organ donor.

From December 1 next year, Wales is changing to a soft opt-out system, where doctors will presume people have agreed to donate their organs after death, unless they have registered an objection and chosen to opt out. However, their families will still be consulted. Campaigners in Scotland including the British Heart Foundation want to see a similar change introduced.

Ms McTaggart will travel to Stormont tomorrow to meet with Jo-Anne Dobson MLA of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Wales Health Minister Mark Drakeford to discuss the opt-out system.

She said: "I welcome the decision made by the Public Petitions Committee to keep the petition open and refer it to the Health Committee.

"Given that the British Heart Foundation in Scotland has commissioned a poll by Ipsos Mori into the introduction of a soft opt-out system, I think it is prudent that the petition remains open."