Kilsyth MSP makes plea over transplant opt-in

13/05/11. John Devlin. MSP Mark Griffin.
13/05/11. John Devlin. MSP Mark Griffin.

THE Scottish Parliament last week heard an impassioned call for an opt-out system on organ donation from Central Scotland Labour member Mark Griffin.

During a debate on the introduction of presumed consent for organ donation after death, Mr Griffin recounted the experiences of his father Francis, who was a Labour councillor for Kilsyth and Croy and died in 2007. Although he had been given a heart transplant after a decade of ill health, he failed to recover and ultimately succumbed to multiple organ failure, leaving his wife and four children including Mark.

After the debate Mark, who continued his father’s work by winning the subsequent by-election, said: “Although 90 per cent of people are in favour of organ donation, less than half are on the organ donor list. I have long believed that this needs to be addressed and have advocated that by changing the law to an ‘opt out’ system of consent.

“The Welsh Assembly has already put in place legislation that supports presumed consent. If we followed suit in Scotland, we would see an increase in the number of organs available for transplant, which put simply, will save the lives of so many people.

“Had we had an ‘opt out’ system in place in 2007, I believe my dad would still be here. The Scottish Government has an excellent opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many people and I hope they take action to do so.”

The Scottish Government has recently launched a major campaign to encourage more people to sign the organ donor register. This debate on presumed consent drew cross-party support. Aberdeenshire SNP MSP Dennis Robertson told the Parliament about his late daughter, who donated her cornea after her death.