Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has said this week will be 'a make or break week' for her organ donation Private Members Bill as she seeks the support of the Stormont parties to further amend her Bill based on the evidence provided to the Health Committee.
Commenting the Upper Bann MLA said:
"Last year 17 local people died waiting on a life-saving transplant. The blunt truth remains that unless we modernise our local laws we will miss the opportunity to save more lives through organ donation.
“On Wednesday the Health Committee will meet to discuss their proposals to amend my Bill by taking on board the evidence provided to the Committee by expert bodies including the NHSBT, Welsh Government, leading local clinicians, charities and individuals.
"The Committee has been gathering evidence since the Bill passed its second stage in the Assembly in November last year, with all parties except the DUP in support. I would take this opportunity to thank all those who took the time and effort to present to the Committee and give their views on the first draft of the Bill.
"I remain firm in my belief, and many of those who presented agree, that we cannot continue with the status quo and if we are to look, not to tomorrow, but to 5, 10 or 15 years’ time, legislation is needed now to maximise the lifesaving potential of organ donation.
"The Committee must now take a position on the Bill and they have the power to bring forward amendments to the clauses.
"I urge Committee members to, based on all the evidence provided, help further strengthen the Bill and allow us to arrive at the best legislation possible. It’s crucial that political differences are set aside, organ donation is given the respect it deserves and we work together to ensure that we increase the number of life-saving transplants and reduce the number of needless local deaths.”