Sugden welcomes progression of organ donation bill

East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has supported the progress of an organ donation bill through Stormont, that could see dozens more lives saved per year by introducing an “opt-out” system.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 9:50 am

The Organ and Tissue Donation Bill passed the second stage on Monday (September 20), with only 10 MLAs from 90 failing to support the bill. Ms Sugden, speaking during Organ Donation Week, said this showed widespread support for the Bill, but also sought to reassure people who didn’t want to be donors that it would remain an optional system.

“If it becomes law, this could end up improving and saving many lives through organ and tissue donation,” Ms Sugden said. “People who do not wish to donate will be able to opt-out, however I hope the lifesaving gift of organ donation will be something more people will consider as this conversation goes on.

“An important thing to remember is that this law would not remove anyone’s right to choose.”

Seventy people have died while waiting for an organ transplant since 2016. Robin Swann previous disclosed this figure following an Assembly question from Ms Sugden.

“An increase in donations could prevent many deaths and give other patients and their families hope for the future,” the independent MLA continued.

“It has been estimated that 180 lives could be saved or vastly improved by the estimated 20 new donors a year that could be found from the introduction of the Bill.

“This is not about forcing people to do something they do not want to. It is about doing whatever we can to help those whose lives depend on an increase in donor numbers.”