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Proposal for organ donation system backed by north-east MSP


By Kyle Ritchie

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Plans for legislation to introduce an opt out system for organ and tissue donation from deceased donors has been welcomed by Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson.

The move will come into effect on March 26, 2021 and will add to the package of measures already in place.

This has already led to a significant increase in donation and transplantation over the last decade.

Work to implement the legislation had been temporarily halted earlier this year to allow the NHS to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed plans for the organ and tissue donation opt out system.
MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed plans for the organ and tissue donation opt out system.

The new law means if an adult does not opt out of donation they will be deemed to have authorised donation for the purposes of transplantation.

This is subject to the safeguards in the new law which seek to ensure that donation will not go ahead where it would be against the person’s wishes.

Organ donation is only possible where the donor has died in hospital, normally in an intensive care unit.

Mr Stevenson said: “We have made huge strides here in Scotland to increase transplant rates over the past decade.

“It is thanks to extraordinary generosity of those who choose to become donors and their families.

“This 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.

“Only around one per cent 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.”

People can find out more about the opt out system of organ and tissue donation, and their choices at organdonationscotland.org

The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Act 2019 was passed in July 2019 and will come into effect on March 26, 2021.

The 2019 Act amends the existing Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006 by introducing a new, additional authorisation called "deemed authorisation". This means that donation may proceed where adults over the age of 16 were not known to have any objection to donation.

It will include protections for adults without capacity to understand deemed authorisation and take the necessary action; adults resident in Scotland for less than 12 months before their death; and children under 16 who will not be subject to deemed authorisation and will only be able to donate if they, or someone on their behalf, explicitly authorises it.

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