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Education Secretary needs to be prepared for consequences of kidney donation article: McArthur

August 4, 2011 5:32 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has written to the Education Secretary, Michael Russell, to ask him what steps he is taking to ensure that students attending Scottish Universities are equipped with all the information they need about kidney donation and the potential risks.

His calls come after Sue Rabbitt Roff, a researcher at Dundee University, attracted considerable publicity and criticism for her suggestion that it was time to explore kidney donors being paid as an "incentive' so that 'hard up students' could pay off their student debts.

Mr McArthur is concerned that, despite the widespread criticism these remarks received, they could prompt a move by students who find themselves in serious financial difficulty to consider donating their kidneys for cash, without being fully aware of the health and legal repercussions.

Commenting Mr McArthur said:

"These opportunistic and frankly unhelpful comments made by Ms Roff were ill-advised. Not surprisingly, Ms Roff's suggestions have been condemned right across the board but there is still a risk that they may encourage students or others with debt problems in Scotland to act in ways that are not at all in their best interests.

"The possibility of paying off thousands of pounds of student debt by donating an organ may seem a superficially attractive way of getting rid of debt. But donating an organ is not like getting a tooth out and it can be a risky operation for the would be donor and could have potentially serious health repercussions.

"Unfortunately, Scottish universities and colleges need to be prepared now for signs that Ms Roff's unhelpful comments, and the publicity surrounding them, have knock on consequences. I have written to the Education Secretary to ask what the Scottish Government is doing to assist in this process and to ensure that students are properly informed about the consequences and potential risks involved."

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