Changes to Organ Donation Could Be a Life Saver

Recent changes to the law on organ and tissue donation in Scotland have been very much welcomed by Dr Helen Tyler, our Clinical Lead for Organ Donation.

Helen says she is hopeful that the move to an opt-out system will see many more lives being saved through donation and transplantation in the coming years.

Explaining the new law Helen said: “Everyone is encouraged to record their own decision – to opt in or out – but if you have not recorded a decision it will now be assumed that you agree to be a donor. Surveys of the Scottish public have shown up to 90% support organ donation and yet in recent years less than 50% have actually recorded a decision on the Organ Donor Register.

“Not knowing their loved one’s wishes adds painful uncertainty for families as patients reach the end of their lives. In these very difficult conversations with grieving families it should now be clear that every individual has had a choice whether to be a donor and hopefully many more will have discussed this with their loved ones.”

“In the past, planning and sharing wishes for the end of life has often been avoided. But it has been refreshing recently to have organ and tissue donation discussed so publicly through the government awareness raising campaign over the move to an opt-out system. This new law now gives greater clarity on the processes, safeguards and responsibilities to ensure donation is a transparent and visible element of patient care.”

Helen adds: “I hope we will keep talking about organ donation so openly inside and outside the hospital because, even though it comes at a time of such loss, it can offer such comfort to know a life is transformed by transplantation.”

For more information on organ donation and the recent changes visit: