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Scotland organ donation law achieves Royal Assent

19 July 2019

Legislation to introduce an opt-out system of organ and tissue donation for deceased donors in Scotland will come into force in autumn 2020.

Under the new law, all adults in Scotland will be considered to be potential organ donors when they die unless they had recorded a decision not to donate.

Healthier Scotland logoThe new law will be implemented follow a public awareness campaign of at least 12 months which will provide more information about what the changes mean and what choices people will have.

In Scotland there are an average of more than 500 people waiting for an organ transplant at any one time.

John Forsythe, Medical Director for Organ Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant welcomed the news, saying:

“With organ donation law now set to change in both England and Scotland next year, we hope to see similar results to Wales, with more people and families agreeing to donation.

“For those who have not thought about organ donation before, it is important to know that there is time to consider your options.

We encourage people to make an organ donation decision and ensure that they tell their family, as even after the laws change, families will continue to be approached before organ donation goes ahead.”

Scotland’s Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“Organ and tissue donation can be a life-changing gift. Evidence shows that opt-out systems can make a difference as part of a wider package of measures and this Act provides further opportunities to both save and improve lives.”

More information about the law change in Scotland or download a fact sheet about the changes by Organ Donation Scotland.