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New Laws on Organ Donation from 26 March 2021

New Laws on Organ Donation from 26 March 2021

The Scottish Government has announced that new laws on organ and tissue donation will come into force from 26 March.

There will be a big change from the current system, where you register if you want your body to be used if it is suitable and carry a donor card.  When the new law comes into effect, it will be completely the opposite, so that if you don’t want your organs and tissue to be donated on your death, you should register this with the NHS Organ Donor Register.

It is important to remember that organ donation in the UK is heavily regulated and is only an option in rare circumstances.  Only 1% of people die in a way that makes organ donation possible, when they are in a hospital, and provided that the person is a suitable donor.  Many people are not suitable for a variety of reasons, such as their health or age, although age alone does not make necessarily make someone an unsuitable donor.

More than 500 people in Scotland are waiting for a transplant, which in many cases will dramatically improve their lives.  However, only 109 people donated their organs last year, so sadly some of those on the waiting list will die before a suitable donor is found.

It is still your choice what happens, but as many people don’t record their choice or make it clear to their family what they want to happen, it is hoped that the new law will result in more donations in the coming years.

It is important to know that your family will still be asked for their and your views, and you can change your mind at any time.

If you want to opt out of donation (or to record that you want your organs to be donated), you don’t have to wait until March to do so.  You can go online to www.organdonationscotland.org where you can record your wishes very simply and get any more information you need.

If you do not want to do this, you can prepare your own note of your wishes, but your family must be aware of this.  We can help you prepare this note and discuss any issues you might have.

The most important change to be aware of is that from March, if you do nothing at all you will be assumed to agree to your organs and tissues being donated if they are suitable.

For more information please contact Liz MacKay in our Oban office (01631 562 308), or go the organ donation website.