‘Opt-in’ organ donors hits record high in Scotland

The number of people on the organ donor register in Scotland is higher than it has ever been, new figures show.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) figures revealed that between April and October 2018, there were over 285,000 new registrations, making the total figure almost 2.8 million.

This equates to 51.7 per cent of Scotland’s population.

‘Life-changing gift’

Scotland’s Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick welcomed the news, saying: “This increases the chance of a potentially life-saving and life-changing gift for someone this year.”

Despite the progress, Scotland is considering a move from the current ‘opt-in’ system to an ‘opt-out’ system, where consent would be presumed unless explicitly withheld.

Campaigners claim the move will boost donations, but when similar plans were mooted in England in 2017, a former transplant chief expressed strong opposition.

‘Horribly opposed’

Professor Chris Rudge, formerly the National Clinical Director for Transplantation, said a change in the law “may take away people’s faith and trust in organ donation”.

He said: “I think I would opt out because organ donation should be a present and not for the state to assume that they can take my organs without asking me.

“No one knows better than me the problems of thousands of people waiting for a transplant. Part of me really wants to help them but part of me really objects to the opt-out system.

“I am so horribly opposed to a change in the law and I wouldn’t like to be put in that position.”

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