Bid to change opt-out laws a step closer

THE Evening Times' campaign to change Scotland's organ donation laws will move a step closer next month.

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Our petition calling for a opt-out system of organ donation will be considered at Holyrood next month.

A panel of MSPs will decide if the petition goes forward to the next stage to potentially introduce new legislation.

In December the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee signalled its support for the campaign.

The panel agreed to pursue the issue and write to the Scottish Government, health boards and transplant experts for evidence on how an opt-out system would save lives.

Committee convener David Stewart praised the campaign after hearing evidence from editor Tony Carlin.

He said: "It is clearly something every right-thinking person would want to support.

"I hope other newspapers take a leaf out of your book. It is one of the best petitions I have heard in my time as convener."

Under an opt-out system, the default position is that everyone is a donor but the right to refuse is protected. Relatives would also be consulted.

The system is backed by the British Medical Association and major charities, including the British Heart Foundation.

Research shows countries with an opt-out system tend to have higher donation rates. Wales is progressing towards a change to an opt-out system in 2015.

The Public Petitions Committee is now considering all the written submissions it has received.

It can opt to continue the petition and seek further evidence from organisations or refer the petition to the Health and Sport Committee. It may also decide to close the petition.

Responses have so far been received from NHS Tayside, NHS Blood and Transplant and the British Medical Association.

NHS Blood and Transplant said it would support "any approach that helps to raise awareness of the need for more donors and encourages the public to make a decision and discuss their donation wishes with family."

The petition will be considered on February 19.

caroline.wilson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

WE need your help to make this happen and save more lives. Sign our petition to lend your support to an 'opt-out' system for organ donation at www.eveningtimes.co.uk

There is now also a printable version of the petition available on our website.

We need as many of you as possible to distribute it in community centres, churches, mosques, leisure centres and public places.

You can also sign up on Twitter and Facebook via http://bit.ly/etoptin. And don't forget to send the link to all of your friends and relatives.

In the meantime, to join the existing national organ donor register, text 'ETDONATE' to 61611.

Texts are charged at the usual standard network rate (any texts sent in reply are free to the recipient).

You can also join the list by calling the NHS Donor Line on 0300 1232323. Lines are open 24 hours a day all year. Calls are charged at your contracted rate for local calls.

Those who wish to register online can do so by filling out a form on www.organdonation scotland.org/ and following relevant links.

Our petition calling for a opt-out system of organ donation will be considered at Holyrood next month.

A panel of MSPs will decide if the petition goes forward to the next stage to potentially introduce new legislation.

In December the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee signalled its support for the campaign.

The panel agreed to pursue the issue and write to the Scottish Government, health boards and transplant experts for evidence on how an opt-out system would save lives.

Committee convener David Stewart praised the campaign after hearing evidence from editor Tony Carlin.

He said: "It is clearly something every right-thinking person would want to support.

"I hope other newspapers take a leaf out of your book. It is one of the best petitions I have heard in my time as convener."

Under an opt-out system, the default position is that everyone is a donor but the right to refuse is protected. Relatives would also be consulted.

The system is backed by the British Medical Association and major charities, including the British Heart Foundation.

Research shows countries with an opt-out system tend to have higher donation rates. Wales is progressing towards a change to an opt-out system in 2015.

The Public Petitions Committee is now considering all the written submissions it has received.

It can opt to continue the petition and seek further evidence from organisations or refer the petition to the Health and Sport Committee. It may also decide to close the petition.

Responses have so far been received from NHS Tayside, NHS Blood and Transplant and the British Medical Association.

NHS Blood and Transplant said it would support "any approach that helps to raise awareness of the need for more donors and encourages the public to make a decision and discuss their donation wishes with family."

The petition will be considered on February 19.

caroline.wilson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

HOW YOU CAN HELP -

WE need your help to make this happen and save more lives. Sign our petition to lend your support to an 'opt-out' system for organ donation at www.eveningtimes.co.uk

There is now also a printable version of the petition available on our website.

We need as many of you as possible to distribute it in community centres, churches, mosques, leisure centres and public places.

You can also sign up on Twitter and Facebook via http://bit.ly/etoptin. And don't forget to send the link to all of your friends and relatives.

In the meantime, to join the existing national organ donor register, text 'ETDONATE' to 61611.

Texts are charged at the usual standard network rate (any texts sent in reply are free to the recipient).

You can also join the list by calling the NHS Donor Line on 0300 1232323. Lines are open 24 hours a day all year. Calls are charged at your contracted rate for local calls.

Those who wish to register online can do so by filling out a form on www.organdonation scotland.org/ and following relevant links.

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