Scotland has made huge progress on organ donation rates in recent years and we now have the highest rate of donors per million of population of any UK country.
Currently in Scotland, organ and/or tissue donation after a person’s death only occurs if they have given advance authorisation or if their nearest relative authorises on their behalf.
In our manifesto for the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, we committed to consulting on ways to further increase organ donation and transplantation, including the development of a workable soft opt out system for Scotland.
The consultation, launched in December 2016, found that 82 per cent of respondents supported the introduction of a soft opt out system of organ and tissue donation. A soft opt out, or deemed authorisation system, means that a donation can go ahead if the person has not opted out or told their family they do not wish to donate.
The Scottish Government will now bring forward the Organ and Tissue Donation Bill to introduce a workable soft opt out system. It will also include safeguards to minimise the risk of a person becoming a donor if they would not have wished to donate.
This will be part of a package of measures already in place to increase donation and will be developed in a way that will do no harm to trust in the NHS or the safety of organ donation.