The Assembly could be presented with two rival private member’s bills on organ donation - one from the UUP and one from the DUP - it has emerged.
Several months ago the UUP MLA Jo-Anne Dobson began a consultation with a view to introducing a bill which would mean that it would be presumed that anyone who died without specific instructions about organ donation consented to their organs being donated.
Mrs Dobson is expected to unveil the results of that process next week and press ahead with the bill. However, yesterday the DUP MLA Alastair Ross, a critic of the ‘presumed consent’ model, unveiled outline proposals for his own bill.
The East Antrim representative — who in June told the News Letter that he had an ideological difficulty with Mrs Dobson’s proposal — yesterday stressed that he shares her desire to see an increase in the number of organ donors.
His proposal would see drivers being forced to decide, when applying for a new driving licence, whether they wish to become organ donors.
At present there is an option when applying for a driving licence to also join the organ donor register but it is not compulsory to make a decision.
Mr Ross said: “I have begun a consultation on a private member’s bill that would provide a decision point for people on their driving licences, a change that has been proven to work in the United States.
“Crucially it maintains the voluntary expressed consent aspect of organ donation, but also presents people with various options to ensure that they have the conversation with their families and express their own wishes for their organs in the event of their death.”