Scotland politics

MSPs hear mixed views on changes to Scotland's organ donation system

surgical operation

MSPs have been told that parts of the medical profession are split over possible changes to organ donation.

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) said its fellows had expressed mixed views about the Transplantation Bill.

It would permit people to nominate a proxy to confirm their desire to donate and possibly overrule opposing family.

The RCPE said in that situation clinicians could be placed in a difficult position.

However, the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland and the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) have all come out strongly in favour of the bill.

The BMA has also questioned why family members should be allowed to veto organ donations amid research showing nearly half refused when the wishes of the deceased were not known.

'Act of giving'

SYP said the proxy was particularly important for young people in care, whose decision-making capacity may be questioned but who may object to blood relatives making decisions on their behalf.

BHF said: "The current organ donation system simply doesn't work.

"Despite decades of campaigning to encourage people to join, and the fact that 90% of the public say they support organ donation, the number of people on the register remains at only 32% across the UK."

In its written submission to Holyrood's health committee, the RCPE said: "Some believe that 'opt-out' legislation effectively means acquisition by the state of organs.

"Removal of the altruistic aspect of donation is of real concern to some of our fellows, who feel that bereaved families take great solace from an active act of giving."

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