How to refuse organ donation in Scotland


Organ donation laws change in Scotland from March 26 – Scots are now automatically registered to donate in the event of death. The law is changing to help save lives – but if you still don’t want to donate for some reason, you can opt out of the organ donation program.

As of today, it is now assumed that the Scots have consented to the donation, unless otherwise specified.

The change was hailed as a “landmark” moment by the British Medical Association.

At any given time in Scotland there is an average of 500 people waiting for an organ transplant.

Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “This new action plan sets out a clear ambition to increase organ and tissue donation and transplantation to enable more people in desperate need of a transplant to access it.

Her Scottish Council Vice-President Dr Sue Robertson added that she had seen ‘how vital organ donation is and how it can save and improve the life of the person receiving this transplant. and those close to him ”.

She said: “I hope that over time organ donation becomes the norm, with everyone having discussions with their family or closest friends about their wishes, and a more positive attitude towards donation. within society.

“These discussions are crucial: the legislation is above all about respecting everyone’s donation wishes, and families and loved ones have a vital role to play in ensuring that this happens by providing all the information they have about the donation. most recent views of the individual.

“There has never been a better time than now to make sure you have the conversation with your loved ones, while you can, so that they are prepared and able to accurately relate and support your wishes. in the event of organ donation potential arise. ”

John Casey and Dr Iain Macleod, Co-Chairs of the Scottish Donation and Transplant Group, added: “The new action plan will build on the progress made in recent years to improve organ transplantation and donation in Scotland.

“It contains key elements that will improve the lives and experience of patients and as such we warmly welcome its introduction.”

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There is also a small group of exceptions, including:

  • Children under 16
  • Those who have lived in Scotland for less than 12 months.
  • Adults who do not have the capacity to understand the new law, such as those with dementia.


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