Poots: 'I'm not kicking organ donation into touch'


Health Minister Edwin Poots insisted he was not "kicking organ donation into touch", on 11 February 2014.

The minister announced a public awareness campaign and a further consultation, leading Sinn Fein's Raymond McCartney to suggest "when a minister wants to kick something into touch, he looks for more evidence".

However, Mr Poots suggested that further consultation was necessary as there was still a lack of public awareness of organ donation.

He cited, for example, the "36% of respondents to a Public Health Agency consultation who were not aware of the Organ Donor Register".

The UUP's Jo-Anne Dobson, who had been preparing a private member's bill on the issue of organ donation, asked Mr Poots whether he would commit to a soft opt-out legislation this mandate.

The minister said he was not opposed to the soft opt-out proposal, but the evidence of its effectiveness where it was implemented, in Sweden and Spain, was inconclusive.

SDLP's Fearghal McKinney asked whether the statistics on organ donation waiting lists give sufficient cause for legislative action.

Mr Poots said "the fact that 15 people die a year should be an incentive to act, but if we are to make a real impact we need to make it a UK-wide issue "as we are part of a "bigger pool".

He noted that "even if we had 100% on the donor register but they (the rest of the UK) had 10%, the impact would be limited".

Alliance's Kieran McCarthy said he was "disappointed we're taking more time" and called for urgent action while "106 people are waiting for organs".

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