50.4% of people in Scotland have now registered to donate their organs or tissue after their death, and the country continues to have the highest rate in the UK, which has an average of 38%.
More than 2,724,000 Scottish residents have now registered on the UK Organ Donor Register, or 50.4% of Scotland’s population, and surveys show that around 90% of people support organ donation. Approximately 550 people in Scotland are waiting for an organ transplant, which could save or transform their lives.
The rise in registered donors comes after high-profile annual awareness-raising campaigns. In addition, legislation has recently been introduced to the Scottish Parliament that would move Scotland to a soft opt out system, with appropriate safeguards. Under the proposed system, if someone has not stated a decision about donation after death, they may be deemed as having authorised it.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP announced the landmark achievement while visiting Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to learn about the work of the hospital’s kidney transplant and dialysis units.
Ms Freeman said:
“Just over half of Scotland’s people have registered to donate their organs or tissue after death, reflecting both their incredible generosity and the progress we have made in highlighting the need for organ donors.
“However, we need more people to register. Most organ and tissue donations can only occur in tragic circumstances, and only 1% of people die in circumstances where they could be an organ donor.
"Registering only takes two minutes and could save or transform someone’s life."
Mr Marc Clancy, consultant transplant surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, said:
“We are now transplanting 180 organs annually while achieving some of the best success rates in the UK. This is testament to the commitment of our staff and the national drive to expand organ donation.”
To join the Organ Donor Register, please visit www.organdonationscotland.org/yes or call NHS Blood and Transplant on 0300 123 23 23.
The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill was introduced into the Scottish Parliament on 8 June 2018. The Bill proposes to enable an opt out system of deceased organ and tissue donation but contains safeguards to ensure that families will be asked about their loved one’s views to ensure donations don’t occur where the person would not have wished it.