The Scottish Government’s decision to introduce legislation for a soft opt-out system of organ and tissue donation has been welcomed by Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson.

The plan was backed by 82% of people who contributed to a 14-week consultation that looked at ways to increase the number of organ and tissue donors in Scotland.

At the moment such donations only occur if someone gave authorisation before their death or if their nearest surviving relative authorises it.

The proposed law will mean a donation can go ahead as long as the deceased person didn’t opt out or tell their family they didn’t wish to donate their organs.

Mr Matheson said: “The decision to legislate for a soft opt-out system is great news for our health service and patients awaiting a transplant.

“With the help of donors and their families, NHS Scotland has already made great progress, including a 34% increase in donors this past year alone, which means Scotland now has the highest donor rate in the UK.

“However, moving to a soft opt-out system is an important step towards further reducing the number of people in Falkirk district and across Scotland waiting for transplants.

“We should always keep in mind the tragic circumstances that give rise to organ donation and appreciate the selfless acts of donors and their families that enable others to live. Organ and tissue donation saves lives and is one of the greatest gifts a person can give.”