By Marc Beuttler
Members of the Scottish parliament and other leaders are calling on the Scottish government to switch to an opt-out system of organ donation. In response to these calls for change, the British Medical Association, the British Heart Foundation and the Kidney Federation, among others met on April 22, at the Scottish parliament to discuss implementation of an opt-out system.
The Scottish Government originally decided to wait for an evaluation of the Welsh opt-out system to be implemented by Dec. 1, 2015. However, campaigns led by The Evening Times and with the support of the British Medical Association are applying pressure to see the system change sooner.
In spite of general upward trends in the amount of organs donated in Scotland (an increase in 96% over the past six years), there are still about 600 people on the wait list for an organ. An opt-out system would make everyone an organ donor by default, and would greatly increase the amount of organs available for life-saving transplantation. This system would also respect people’s wishes to not be a donor by allowing them to opt-out.
Many in the Scottish government have decided that more must be done for their terminally ill citizens awaiting donations. Spain has set the example as one of the leaders in the opt-out system of organ transplantation. New statistics show that Spain has 35.1 donors per million people. This is nearly double the rest of the European Union’s average of 19.1 donors per million people.