Since 26 March 2021, the law around organ and tissue donation in Scotland changed to an opt-out system, meaning most adults who die in circumstances where they are able to donate, will be considered as having agreed to be a donor, unless they have recorded a decision not to.
The ‘Donation and Transplantation Plan for Scotland: 2021 to 2026’ outlines further steps to help those in need of operations, including the use of new technology to allow more organs to be used for transplant. There are many factors which affect whether donation can go ahead, and only around 1% of people die in circumstances where that is possible. The plan, developed with the Scottish Donation and Transplant Group (SDTG), also makes recommendations to help ensure Scotland can increase the numbers of people who donate tissue after they die, and to help improve the care given to patients in the years after their transplant.
The plan covers recommendations in seven priority areas:
- implementation and evaluation of the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Act 2019
- increasing organ transplantation, including through novel technologies
- reducing missed referrals and other missed opportunities for deceased organ and tissue donation
- increasing living donation and reducing the wait for a kidney transplant, with a focus on living donation being the first option patients should consider
- improving transplant recipient support and aftercare
- research and innovation
- public health improvement
Source: Scottish Government, 24 March 2021