New Campaign Urges Scots To Make Donation Decision Known Ahead Of Law Change

NHS Forth Valley today backed a new campaign highlighting what the forthcoming change in organ and tissue donation law means for people – and their choices.

From 26 March, Scotland will move to an opt out system of organ and tissue donation to help save and improve lives.

The change in law means that if people aged 16 and over have not recorded a decision about donation, they will be considered as a possible donor if they die in circumstances in which they could donate.

Everyone has a choice – to be a donor, or opt out of donation, and today Dr Helen Tyler from NHS Forth Valley encouraged people to make that decision known by recording it on the NHS Organ Donor Register, and making family aware of their decision.

Informing family is important, as under the new law, they will still be consulted to check what their loved ones latest views on donation were. This is to ensure donation doesn’t proceed where it is against the donor’s wishes.

Dr Helen Tyler, Consultant in Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine and Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at NHS Forth Valley said:

“Organ donation isn’t something that comes up in everyday conversation, but ahead of the law changing we’re encouraging people to make time to think about what they’d want to happen, and share it.

“Your name will not be on the NHS Organ Donor Register until you record a decision. Everyone has a choice about whether or not they want to donate, and the best way to make it known is by recording it on the Register and telling those close to you.”

A recent survey revealed almost two thirds (64 per cent) of people in Scotland were aware of the choices they have under the new law.

Of those aware, 70 per cent have decided to be a donor, eight per cent have decided to opt out, and one in five (22 per cent) haven’t decided yet, or don’t know whether they will be a donor, or opt out of donation, when the law changes.

Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon said:

“Organ and tissue donation is a great act of generosity that can transform the life of a person on the transplant waiting list. Every opportunity for donation is precious, so we hope the forthcoming law change will prompt people to think about their donation decision, record it and importantly, share it.

“Donation remains a personal decision and under the new law people will be able to choose if they want to be a donor or not. Whatever decision you make, it is important to discuss it with your family – they will still be consulted on your views and having that knowledge will make it easier for them to honour your decision on organ and tissue donation.”

For more about the law change, or to opt out, visit or call 0300 303 2094.