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Action urged to boost transplants

21 November, 2008  

Specialists should be put in place at major hospitals to actively encourage organ donations in a bid to boost the number of transplants, an MP has said.

Liberal Democrat Mike Rumbles told the Scottish Parliament that the idea is already used in Spain and would end calls for “presumed consent” of organs.

His comments came days after the UK government shelved plans for an opt-out system which would make people automatic donors, giving doctors the right to remove their organs after death unless they make their objections clear in advance.

Mr Rumbles said: “Our national health service is founded on the principle of informed consent and that so-called presumed consent is a complete misnomer, since presumed consent isn’t consent at all.

“The key to obtaining more transplants is to have specialists at every major hospital, as they have for instance in Spain.”

He said that having trained staff – not doctors – in place would ensure that patients’ wishes are carried out after death.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon, said she was sympathetic to an opt-out system: “I do agree presumed consent is a misnomer. Whether you have an opt-out or opt-in system, consent has to underpin that system.”

Copyright Press Association 2008

Scottish Government