Opt-out organ donation laws to be introduced in March

Under the new laws, donors will no longer have to opt-in for their organs and tissues to be used in transplants.

Opt-out organ donation laws to be introduced in March Getty Images
Transplant: Organ donation will become an opt-out system in Scotland next March.

Organ donation will become an opt-out system in Scotland in March, the Scottish Government has announced.

Under the new laws, donors will no longer have to opt-in for their organs and tissues to be used in transplants.

Only donors who die in hospital are eligible, while people who do not want to donate their organs to be donated for a transplant can opt out through the Organ Donation Scotland website.

The Scottish Parliament passed the legislation on organ donation in July last year, with the intention of changes being implemented by autumn 2020.

But following a delay due to coronavirus, the Scottish Government’s public health minister Joe FitzPatrick has now announced the measures will come into effect on March 26, 2021.

FitzPatrick said: “Scotland has made huge strides in increasing transplant rates over the past decade, thanks to the generosity of those who choose to become donors and their families.

“The move to an opt-out system is part of a package of measures to continue to improve transplantation rates – and the lives of those for whom the wait continues.

“In Scotland there are an average of more than 500 people waiting for an organ transplant at any one time, so it’s important that we do all we can to save and improve the lives of those on the waiting list.

“Only around 1% of people die in a way that makes organ donation possible, so every opportunity for donation is very precious.

“I would encourage people to continue to make a decision about donation, record their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and discuss it with their family and friends so they know what you would want to happen.”