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Organ donation law change gains Scottish Parliament support

Once Royal Assent is granted, Scotland will join Wales, England and Jersey in moving to an opt out system.

11 June 2019

New legislation to introduce an opt-out system of organ and tissue donation for Scotland has passed the Third Stage in Scottish Parliament. This means that once Royal Assent is granted, Scotland will join Wales, England and Jersey in moving to an opt out system.

Wales was the first UK nation to move to the opt out system in December 2015, and it was confirmed earlier this year that England’s law change will come into effect in spring 2020.

As with England, there will be at least 12 months before the new system is introduced in Scotland, to ensure that people have information about the new system and what their choices are. An awareness raising campaign will be launching later this year.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, at NHS Blood and Transplant, says:

“This is an incredibly exciting and important time for organ donation across the UK. We have seen fantastic progress in Wales since their move to the opt out system in 2015 and we hope that this progress will be reflected in both England and Scotland, as the new laws come into place next year.

“Our main focus is to ensure that people are aware of these upcoming law changes and are aware that they still have a choice. We urge everyone to take time to consider organ donation and to make sure your family know your decision.

Next of kin will still be approached whenever organ donation is a possibility and we know that families find these discussions easier when they know what their relative wanted.”