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Daily’s six-year campaign prompts organ donation law change

A city daily is celebrating after its six-year campaign led to a change in organ donation laws.

The Glasgow Evening Times launched its Opt For Life campaign in October 2011 to press the Scottish government to introduce an opt-out system, whereby people are assumed to be donors unless they have registered an objection.

The Evening Times raised a public petition with more than 20,000 signatures appeared before a Scottish Parliament committee, and canvassed support among MSPs and health professionals.

Now Holyrood has agreed to bring an opt-out system into law, with the newspaper celebrating the news in its late final edition on Wednesday.

Glasgow organ

The campaign was driven by senior reporter Caroline Wilson, who said: “Leading the Opt for Life campaign has been the most rewarding and challenging task in my career.

“We weren’t simply raising awareness about organ donation or attempting to drive up numbers on the donor register, we were asking the government to consider a new system of organ donation and one that a great many people had never heard of.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy campaign and it wasn’t. Being grilled by MSPs at the Public Petitions Committee and was one of the most daunting things I’ve ever been asked to do.

“We faced opposition, including from those medical profession, but we had to challenge their judgment. However, the one constant was the level of public support, particularly those who had experienced the agony of waiting for a transplant.”

Editor Graham Shields said:”The Evening Times is proud to be a champion for the people of Glasgow, and we have campaigned on their behalf throughout our history.

“The Opt for Life campaign has been a huge undertaking and it promised to improve the lives of thousands of people across the whole of Scotland. I am proud of our staff and readers for sticking with this important task and finally delivering success.”

Anne McTaggart, former Glasgow MSP, who brought forward a bill on opt out in the last parliament, recognised the Evening Times for starting the campaign.

She said: “I cannot thank the Opt for Life Evening Times campaign enough. They were the organisers to initiate the community awareness which in turn raised greater awareness for us all.”