The number of registered organ donors in Scotland has risen to more than 2.7million, which means half of the population is now signed up.
Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed the latest UK Organ Donor Register figures, which show 50.4% of people living in Scotland have agreed to donate their organs or tissue after their death. It’s the highest rate in Britain, with the UK-wide average standing at 38%.
The rise comes amid plans to introduce a soft opt-out system in Scotland. A Bill introduced at Holyrood in June proposes that, in future, most adults could be deemed to have authorised donation of their organs and tissue, unless they have opted out. The legislation contains safeguards to ensure that families will be asked about their relative’s views, to ensure donations don’t happen if the deceased would not have wished it.
Mr Matheson said: “It’s heartening to see that a majority of people in Scotland are now registered organ donors but the reality is that it still isn’t enough.
“About 550 people in Scotland are waiting for a life-saving or life-transforming transplant right now. But only about 1% of deaths occur in circumstances that allow for the deceased to become an organ donor, which means that despite the high number of registered donors, only 469 people in Scotland received a transplant last year.
“We need as many people as possible to register – and, in the light of the proposed soft opt-out system, we need people to tell their family and loved ones about their willingness to be an organ donor.
“Surveys show nine out of 10 people support organ donation, so I urge any constituents who are willing to be donors but haven’t signed up yet to spare two minutes to join the register.”
To register, go to www.organdonationscotland.org/yes or call NHS Blood and Transplant on 0300 123 23 23.