Poots supports organ donor opt-out scheme


Health minister Edwin Poots said he was proposing to hold a public consultation on an opt-out system for organ donation, on 5 February 2013.

The minister said 30% of the population of Northern Ireland had now joined the voluntary donation scheme.

"This a huge achievement but more needs to be done," he said.

Proposing the move to an opt-out policy, Mr Poots reminded members that there were 200 people still on the waiting list for organs.

The UUP's Joanne Dobson said this was the fourth anniversary of her son's kidney transplant and she was bringing a private member's bill for an opt-out donation scheme.

Mr Poots said he believed donations could be driven upwards through an opt-out policy but this would need to be accompanied by a public education campaign.

Health Committee chairwoman Sue Ramsey said it was "a good day for this house, it's a good day for the Health Department".

Justice Minister David Ford was asked about the legal aid bill for 2012/13.

He said the continued increase was due to the cost of civil legal aid, which stood at £53.3m in 2011/12.

The minister said there was a need to tackle the "burgeoning" expenditure on civil legal aid, and drew attention to the success achieved in cutting the bill for criminal legal aid.

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