Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nicola Sturgeon backs organ donor campaign, this scheme must be kept purely voluntary, the State doesn’t own your body even in death

Dear All

Nicola Sturgeon has launched a new drive to get Scottish people to sign up to the organ donor register.

The point of organ donation is that such a scheme should and always must remain voluntary.

There is no such thing as involuntary consent.

Ms Sturgeon attended Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary to meet with the parents of a donor and the recipient of an organ donation.

This is standard campaigning, to show that people are willing to donate and the benefits in real terms of a successful donation.

Helen Lang, of Johnstone, Renfrewshire was introduced to Ms Sturgeon as part of the campaign, she benefited from a life-saving liver transplant at the hospital in June.

Other people, Ms Sturgeon spoke to were Brian and Muriel McCabe, whose son Grant died suddenly aged 40.

His organs helped saved the lives of six other people.

The Health Secretary said:

"Last year there were 67 organ donors in Scotland - a rate of 13 donors per million population; up from 9.8 donors per million in 2006-07. Our rate of sign-up to the Organ Donor Register has also hit an all-time high, with 37% of the population signed up to save a life, compared to the UK average of 30%. However, the tragic fact is that more than 600 people in Scotland are still waiting for a life-saving transplant, and across the UK three people die every day because they don't get the organ they need in time."

By raising awareness, it is hoped that more people will sign up to donate their organs in the event of their death.

But people must make the choice voluntary.

The £590,000 campaign will begin today and will run for three weeks throughout November.

It will be a TV, radio and online campaign as people in campaign move away from the traditional leafleting approach which has had its day.

98% of leaflets, unsolicited mail ends up in the bin, leafleting is a complete waste of time in my opinion.

It would be better to do face to face contact as part of a wider campaign.

To sign up for donation, people will be invited to register by phone, text or online.

Professor John Forsythe, lead clinician for organ donation in Scotland and consultant transplant surgeon at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, said:

"The more people we have on the register, the better the chance of saving lives."

Campaigns such as organ donation should be treated in the same manner as blood donation, run all year round.

How successful this campaign will be remains to be seen but it must be considered a step in the right direction.

Health is a year long concern and such campaigns must be treated as such, three weeks isn’t enough.

In future, maybe the NHS Scotland will realise this, and market more effectively.

There are too many causes going the rounds that better planning is needed to address this year round problem.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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