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The heart of the matter

When the Scottish Government launched its Donation and Transplantation Plan last year, there were some who called for an opt-out system for organ donation; in other words, everyone in Scotland would be presumed to have consented unless they said otherwise.

Those who made the case for such a system argued it was needed if Scotland was to address the shortage of organs but, since the launch of the plan, there has been an interesting development: the number of heart transplants carried out in Scotland tripled last year.

There are a few reasons for this, not least the work of the heart failure unit at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank but also the use of specialist nurses to broach the subject of donation when the time comes.

All this good work means two million Scots are on the organ donor register, 10% more than the UK average. As Mark Petrie, the director of the Golden Jubilee unit says, a further rise in donation is still needed and the opt-out system remains an option but this new rise in transplants is a sign, too, that a less controversial, steady campaign to win public support can also be made to work.

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The Royals

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