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People urged to make organ donation decision known ahead of law change

By Lorna Thompson

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NHS Grampian has backed a new campaign ahead of a change in organ and tissue donation law.

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

The law change 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.

This week Dr Paul Gamble, clinical lead for organ donation at NHS Grampian, urged people to make that decision known by recording it on the NHS Organ Donor Register, and to make their families 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 Gamble 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."

Scotland will move to an opt-out system of organ and tissue donation on March 26.
Scotland will move to an opt-out system of organ and tissue donation on March 26.

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 organdonationscotland.org or call 0300 303 2094.

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