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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Meeting of the Parliament 11 June 2019

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Primary 1 Standardised Assessments, Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill, Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill, Standing Orders (Rules Changes), Decision Time, The Way of St Andrews


Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

The next item of business is stage 3 of the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill. In dealing with the bill, members should have with them the bill, as amended at stage 2, the marshalled list and the groupings of amendments.

Should there be a vote this afternoon, the division bell will sound and proceedings will be suspended for five minutes for the first division of the afternoon. The period of voting for the first division will be 30 seconds. Thereafter, there will be one minute for the first division after a debate.

Members who wish to speak in the debate on any group of amendments should press their request-to-speak buttons as soon as possible after I call the group.

Section 2—Information and awareness about authorisation of transplantation and about pre-death procedures

Amendment 1, in the name of the minister, is grouped with amendment 2.

I thank Lewis Macdonald and David Stewart for lodging stage 2 amendments that related to the duties of the Scottish ministers to provide information and raise awareness about authorisation for transplantation. Amendment 1 draws together the overall intentions of the amendments that Mr Macdonald and Mr Stewart lodged at stage 2 by setting out how ministers are to carry out their new duty under the new section 1(1)(d) of the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006. That provision places a duty on the Scottish ministers to promote information and awareness of how transplantation may be authorised, including, in particular, how authorisation for transplantation may be deemed to be given.

The effect of amendment 1 will be that the duty must be carried out at least once in every calendar year. It will also mean that, when the duty is exercised, the Scottish ministers must have regard to the need to provide information to the public about how authorisation of transplantation might be deemed to be given and how to give an express authorisation or to make an opt-out declaration. The amendment makes it clear that the Scottish ministers must have regard to the need to provide that information in healthcare settings, which could include providing information in general practitioner surgeries or in hospital waiting areas, in line with the intention of Mr Stewart’s stage 2 amendment.

Amendment 2 is consequential on amendment 1, and I ask members to support amendments 1 and 2.

I move amendment 1.

I welcome the minister’s amendment 1, which fulfils his commitment to refine the text of amendments that were agreed to by the Health and Sport Committee at stage 2. I also welcome his willingness to seek agreement on the area. As he said, amendment 2 is consequential on amendment 1.

My amendment at stage 2 was to commit ministers to an annual campaign to raise awareness of both deemed and express authorisation and opting out. David Stewart’s amendment was to commit the national health service to communicating with patients about authorisation and opting out. I am glad that the minister has engaged with Mr Stewart and myself on those matters and that his two amendments deliver on the commitment that he gave at stage 2. I therefore look forward to supporting both of the amendments in the group.

Amendment 1 agreed to.

Section 3—Establishment and maintenance of register

Amendment 2 moved—[Joe FitzPatrick]—and agreed to.

After section 11

Amendment 3, in the name of Lewis Macdonald, is grouped with amendment 4.

The purpose of amendment 3 is to require ministers to review and report on the new system of authorisation five years after it comes into force, which includes conducting a review of the Government’s actions to raise awareness of the changes under the bill in general. The Health and Sport Committee unanimously agreed that approach in supporting an amendment in my name at stage 2. Amendment 3 refines the approach, and amendment 4 is consequential.

I am grateful to the minister for working with me on the amendments, which I believe deliver the shared purpose of the Government and the Health and Sport Committee. Amendment 3 provides that ministers must review both the new arrangements for deemed authorisation and their own actions to promote information and awareness about the revised system of organ donation. The report must say whether the objectives of the bill have been met and whether family members have had the support that they need. That will allow ministers and the Parliament to make a judgment, five years after implementation, about whether the bill that is before us today has made the difference that we hope it will, and, if it has not, about what more needs to be done.

I move amendment 3.

I support amendments 3 and 4, which were lodged by Lewis Macdonald. I thank him for working with the Scottish Government to ensure that the proposals align with the overall aim of the bill.

Amendment 3 agreed to.

Section 27A—Review and report on operation of Act

Amendment 4 moved—[Lewis Macdonald]—and agreed to.

Members will be delighted to hear that that concludes the consideration of amendments.

As members will be aware, at this point in the proceedings I am required under the standing orders to decide whether, in my view, any provision of the bill relates to a protected subject matter—that is, whether it modifies the electoral system and franchise for Scottish parliamentary elections. In my view, it does no such thing; therefore, the bill does not require a supermajority at stage 3.