With a reformulated policy in hand and having already spoken to some healthcare professionals (i.e. transplant), the Kidney Donation team addresses public concerns and opinions around this policy. This includes a public debate around the ethical implications of this policy as well as campaigns to spread awareness both to the Scottish public and its MSPs.
There are currently 5,400 patients on the waiting list for kidneys within the UK. Around 400
will die this year as they wait for a transplant. Around a further 800 are suspended from
the waiting list as they will become too ill to receive a transplant and may never recover.
Currently, the Government attempts to deal with this shortage by attempting to remove all
the current disincentives to donation. Thus, they have exhausted all non-positive incentives
for living donation. Further to this, the UK Government and devolved assemblies have been
discussing the possibility of an Opt-Out system for kidney donation which would move from
informed to presumed deceased donation. However, recent research shows that an opt-out
policy will only supply around 563 kidneys per annum. As such, under the the current UK
framework, even with the adoption of an Opt-Out system, government policy falls short.
This paper argues that, given the lack of any other feasible ways to solve the UK’s chronic
under-supply of kidneys, the government should run a trial of financial incentives for living
kidney donation, in the form of pension contributions or tax exemptions. The large
disparity in dialysis and transplantation costs means that the NHS can adopt these policies
without any additional contributions from the government. Furthermore, by transferring
the financial incentives into the long run, ethical objections which make upfront payment
for organs politically unfeasible are avoidable.