ORGAN donation has changed in Scotland, with a move to an ‘opt out’ approach. And now, everyone aged 16 and above is being encouraged to record their donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register, and to tell their loved ones, too.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway is helping to promote awareness of the change, as Organ and Tissue Donation Week runs nationally from September 26 to October 2.
Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary Emergency Department consultant Dr Magnus Rodrigues said: “Everyone should be aware of this fundamental change to organ donation in Scotland.
“Since March 2021, organ and tissue donation in Scotland has operated on the basis of a ‘deemed authorisation’ or ‘opt out’ system
“It means that if you have not opted out when you die the law allows for the donation of certain organs and tissue for transplantation – unless you are in an excluded group or it has been established that this would be against your views.
“Despite this, people now being encouraged to register to be an organ and tissue donor, and this is being encouraged – as it can make it easier for loved ones to honour your decision after your death.”
Dr Rodrigues added: “The opt out system applies specifically to the donation of commonly transplanted parts of the body such as kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, tendons.
“It’s therefore very important that people continue to register as organ donors, willing to donate organ and tissue that does not fall within the scope of the new opt out legislation.”
Research suggests a gap between support for organ donation in Scotland and action.
A total of 83% per cent of Scotland’s population said they support organ and tissue donation. However, only 55 per cent had recorded a decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
People are now being signposted to a website where they can find out more information and register their donation decision.
Dr Rodrigues said: “People shouldn’t think that the move to an opt out system means they don’t need to take any action around organ donation.
“It’s very important that people register their decision and have conversations with their loved ones to share their wishes with them.
“To register your decision, please visit www.organdonation.scot or call 0300 123 2323.”
Minister for Public Health Maree Todd said: “There are so many inspiring stories which show the difference a transplant can make to someone’s life.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to think about their donation decision and make it known by recording it on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
“Donation remains a personal decision, but whatever you decide, recording it and sharing it with loved ones can make it easier for them to ensure it is honoured. I hope Organ and Tissue Donation Week prompts more of those important conversations.”
People can register their donation decision and find out more at www.organdonation.scot or by calling 0300 123 2323.