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'Opt out' organ donation scheme set to be introduced

Scots currently have to agree to donate their organs before they can be taken.

Scotland is set to move to an "opt out" system for organ donation.

Scots currently have to volunteer to donate their organs before they can be taken.

Under the new system, people will have to opt out of donation and if somebody has not stated a preference their organs could still be used.

However, families may be asked about their loved one's views to avoid unwanted donations.

Public health minister Aileen Campbell said: "We need to do all we can do to further reduce the number of people in Scotland waiting for transplants.

"We have made significant progress over the last decade and moving to an opt out system will be part of driving a long term change in attitudes.

"Organ and tissue donation is an incredible gift."

Dialysis patient Robert Kilpatrick, who is being treated at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, said a transplant would "change his life completely".

'A transplant would change my life completely... it certainly wasn't the retirement that I forecast for myself.'
Dialysis patient Robert Kilpatrick

"I'm in here there days a week - Monday, Wednesday, Friday - and it's four hours for each session.

"I've only got one kidney and although it's still functioning it's not functioning well enough.

"A transplant would change my life completely. Instead of having to come in here three times a week... it certainly wasn't the retirement that I forecast for myself."

A public consultation in 2017 found 82% of respondents supported an opt out system, according to the Scottish Government.

However, the new legislation will have to be approved by the Scottish Parliament before it is introduced.

Under the proposed system there are provisions for adults who are unable to give consent and children under the age of 16, whose organs will not be taken without permission.

Since 2008 there has been a significant increase in the number of people who donated their organs after death - up from 54 in 2007/08 to 102 in 2017/18.

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