Organ donation opt-out system by ‘autumn 2020’

Scots encouraged to let families know whether they want to donate

Saturday 20th July 2019

A new system of organ donation in which an adult is presumed to have consented to donating their organs after death unless they have indicated otherwise will come into force in autumn 2020.

The Scottish Government says a public awareness campaign will run for at least a year before the new law comes into effect to provide information about ‘what choices people will have’.

Joe FitzPatrick, the Scottish Government’s Public Health Minister, said receiving an organ or tissue from a donor could be “life-changing”.

“Evidence shows that opt-out systems can make a difference as part of a wider package of measures and this Act provides further opportunities to both save and improve lives,” he added.

“We will continue to work with key stakeholders and the NHS as we prepare for the introduction of opt-out in autumn 2020 to ensure this legislation is implemented effectively.

“In Scotland there is an average of more than 500 people waiting for an organ transplant at any one time so it’s important that we do all we can to improve the lives of those on the waiting list.

“I would encourage people to continue to make a decision about donation, record this on the NHS Organ Donor Register and discuss it with their family.”

Approved by MSPs in June, the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill introduces a new category in which someone is deemed to consent to organ donation unless they made their objection known.

Ministers say there will be protections for adults with learning disabilities or mental heath issues who might not understand the law, as well as for children under 16.