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Opt-out organ donation bill to come into effect Autumn 2020

Image credit: Phalinn Ooi

Opt-out organ donation bill to come into effect Autumn 2020

Scots who have not opted out of organ donation will be presumed to have consented to donating from Autumn 2020, after a new law received Royal Assent.

The Scottish Government’s Human Tissue Bill will introduce on opt-out system for organ and tissue donation.

The new system will mean people have to express a preference that they do not want their organs used to help others after their death.

Currently donors must opt-in for their organs to be donated, via a donor card or other form of registration.

The bill amends existing Scottish legislation that supports donation by introducing “deemed authorisation”, meaning donation may proceed where a person was not known to have any objection to donation.

The legislation was introduced to parliament 8 June 2018 and passed through parliament in June this year. The bill recently received Royal Assent and will come into force in Autumn 2020.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said the law would be “life-changing”.

“Evidence shows that opt-out systems can make a difference as part of a wider package of measures and this Act provides further opportunities to both save and improve lives,” FitzPatrick said.

“In Scotland there are an average of more than 500 people waiting for an organ transplant at any one time so it’s important that we do all we can to improve the lives of those on the waiting list.

“I would encourage people to continue to make a decision about donation, record this on the NHS Organ Donor Register and discuss it with their family.”

The Scottish Parliament opposed a similar proposal last term, in the form of a member's bill from Labour MSP Anne McTaggart, but this time only a handful of MSPs voted against.

Read the most recent article written by Emily Woods - Scottish Parliament to vote on emergency coronavirus bill

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