Meeting with First and Deputy First Ministers
On the invitation of Mrs. Jo-Anne Dobson, MLA, I attended a meeting at Stormont on Tuesday 25th March, at which the First and Deputy First Ministers heard arguments in favour of a change to the law on organ donation.
Mrs. Dobson is currently working on a draft of her Private Member’s Bill to change the law from an ‘opt-in’ system to a ‘soft opt-out system’. Such a change reflects the views of 85% of the RVH Liver Support Group’s membership from the poll taken in December 2011.
I was fortunate to be given an opportunity of presenting some of the arguments – the fact that countries with some form of opt-out system have around 30 deceased donors per million of population while the UK has only 19; and the prospect of a more open culture for discussing organ donation ensuring that the wishes of the deceased are better known. Others emphasised that donation must always be preceded by family consent and that a change in the law must go hand-in-hand with improved infrastructure and thorough public education.