Half of Scots now registered for organ donation

Jeane Freeman, the new health secretary, has spoken about organ donation. Picture: John Devlin
Jeane Freeman, the new health secretary, has spoken about organ donation. Picture: John Devlin
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Scotland has the highest rate of organ donation in the UK, with half of the population now registered.

The number of Scottish residents on the UK Organ Donor Register is now 2,724,000, with surveys showing around 90 per cent of people support organ donation.

The UK average for the proportion of people registered was 38 per cent in March.

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There are around 550 people in Scotland who are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

Legislation to introduce a new “soft opt-out” system for organ donation was introduced at Holyrood last month.

The change means people would be assumed to have consented to their organs being used to help others unless they had signed an opt-out, potentially increasing the number of organ transplants that can take place in Scotland each year.

The Scottish Government said campaigns to raise awareness had contributed to rising support for donor registration.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman, speaking on a visit to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, 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 per cent 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.

“We have introduced proposals to change the laws around organ and tissue donation to move to a soft opt-out system, to build on the significant progress we’ve already made and as part of the long-term culture change to encourage people to support donation.

“However, the most important step people can take now is to make a decision and tell their family and loved ones. In the event of a tragedy, this would make it much easier for them at a very difficult time and ensure your decision is followed.”

Marc Clancy, consultant transplant surgeon at the hospital, said: “I have seen the unit grow from a small size performing 60 transplants a year to become the largest in Scotland.

“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.”