Welsh backing for opt-out campaign

THE Evening Times' award-winning campaign for an opt-out transplant system is back in the public agenda.

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MSP Drew Smith backs our campaign for an opt-out transplant system
MSP Drew Smith backs our campaign for an opt-out transplant system

Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford will give evidence in support of our petition at a meeting of MSPs at the Scottish Parliament next month.

Mr Drakeford will explain the country's new opt-out system, which is due to come into force in 2015.

Scottish politicians voted last October to continue our Opt For Life petition, following a ­letter from Labour MSP Drew Smith to his colleagues.

MSPs were eager to allow the petition more time to convince the Scottish ­Government that a change in the law in Scotland would save more lives.

Mr Drakeford will give evidence to the committee on February 18 through a video link.

A law was passed in Wales last September to create the first opt-out organ donation system in the UK.

It will mean people not wanting to give up their organs after their death must sign a register, although relatives will still be given a say.

Mr Drakeford said: "Organ donation saves lives, and we believe the new legislation will help increase the number of people potentially able to contribute to the organ donation pool."

"In December we started our two-year communication programme to ensure everyone in Wales is made aware of this significant piece of new legislation, and their choices, before it comes into force on December 1, 2015."

The Scottish Government has said it will await an evaluation of the system in Wales before making any decision on opt-out.

However, charities say this will cost lives.

About 700 people in Scotland are waiting for a transplant, yet more than half of the population is not on the register.

caroline.wilson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

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