The law around organ and tissue donation is changing

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 23rd October 2020

Scotland’s move to an opt out system of organ and tissue donation is underway, find out what this means for people and their families.

On 26 March 2021, the law will come into effect to help save and improve lives. This change means that if people aged 16 and over have not recorded a decision about donation, they will be considered a potential donor when they die.

Everyone has a choice – to record their decision to be a donor, or to opt out of donation – and people are being encouraged to think about their decision, and make it known.

Whatever that decision, the best way to record it is on the NHS Organ Donor Register. The change in law does not mean people are automatically put on the Register. Donation is a personal decision and people can record their choice and preferences there at any time.

As well as recording your donation decision, it’s also important to share it with family so they know what you’d want to happen. Having that knowledge will allow them to share your latest views on donation to help ensure your decision is honoured.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

Scotland has made huge strides in increasing transplant rates over the past decade, thanks to the generosity of those who choose to become donors and their families. The move to an opt out system is part of a package of measures to continue to improve transplantation rates – and the lives of those for whom the wait goes on. Only around 1% of people die in a way that makes organ and tissue donation possible, so every opportunity for donation is very precious.

I would encourage people to find out more about the law change and their choices, to make a decision about donation and record it on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Just as important is the need to have that discussion with family and friends so they know what you would want to happen.

You can record your donation decision today at (this link will take you away from our website) – and find out more about your choices under the new law, and what it means for you, and your family.

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