The law in Scotland is changing to introduce an opt out system for organ and tissue donation for deceased donors in autumn next year.
The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill received a majority backing by MSPs in June after a debate in Holyrood.
Previously, donors have been required to “opt-in” in order for their organs to be donated, with many people carrying a donor card.
Now, Scotland will move to a system of “presumed consent” for organ and tissue donations.
Donating organs and tissue can save up to nine lives, according to Organ Donation Scotland.
Joe FitzPatrick, minister for public health, sport and wellbeing, said at the time the bill was passed it was a “momentous day for Scotland”.
The Dundee West MSP said: “It’s the biggest change in organ donation legislation in Scotland since the Scottish Parliament came to power and I’m really excited.”
Supporters believe the bill, first launched in June, will increase the number of life-saving donors and operations.
Under the new rules, anyone over the age of 16 is considered to be a consenting donor, unless they opt-out. They must have been resident in the country for at least a year to be on the list.
The bill does include provisions to make sure the wishes of families and next of kin are respected, and excludes people who do not have the capacity to understand the rules.
You still have a choice if you want to be a donor or not when you die, and you do not have to wait until autumn 2020 to make this decision.
With the opt-out system becoming law, the Tele wants to speak to people about the value of organ donation.
Just this week we told the emotional story of a Perthshire bride who paid tribute to the organ donor who saved her father’s life – allowing him to walk her down the aisle.
Last year, Angus dad-of-three Luke Chapman told how he had been cured of diabetes after a 22-year battle with the disease, following a kidney and pancreas transplant.
One Dundonian even told how he selflessly donated a kidney while still alive, saying: “Well, why wouldn’t I?…it was the right thing to do.”
The sons of a Dundee taxi driver who died after a bleed on the brain spoke of their pride in their father’s death saving the lives of others, with the family receiving an award on his behalf.
Since its creation, there have been 1,868 organ donors in Scotland – a third of which were known to be on the Organ Donor Register – leading to over 6,200 lives being saved or improved.
In Tayside, 50 per cent of the population are currently on the NHS Organ Donor Register, with just over 2.6 million people having already registered their donation decision nationally, which is 49% of Scotland’s population.
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The centralised donor register allows Specialist Nurses in Organ Donation to quickly and easily check if someone has indicated they wish to donate and the register will continue to play an important role when the law around organ and tissue donation changes next Autumn.
NHS Tayside’s Clinical Lead for Organ Donation Dr Pauline Austin said, “Organ donation is a precious gift which saves and transforms lives. On this landmark anniversary and ahead of the law changing in Autumn 2020, we’re encouraging people to think about their donation decision and make it known.
“As families are always involved in organ donation discussions, you can make it easier for them by telling them what you would want to happen.
“Everyone has a choice, and they can record their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register at any time.”
Have you or someone you know received a transplant, and have a story to tell?
Did one of your loved ones save a life by donating their organs?
Or have you been a living donor and would like to discuss the value of giving others organs while you are still alive?