A move to an ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation in Scotland is to be voted on by MSPs later today. Currently, people must ‘opt-in’ to organ donation through a registration process. Under the new system, it will be assumed people consent to organ donation unless they have stated otherwise. This will apply to anyone over the age of 16 who has lived in Scotland for at least a year and is considered capable of making an informed decision.
Approximately 550 people in Scotland are waiting for an organ transplant, which could significantly improve or even save their lives. The new system could, similar to the one adopted by Wales in 2015, could lead to an increase in the number of organs available.
Consultation with families will be conducted and they will have the final say under the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill. At present, over half of Scotland's population have registered to donate their organs or tissue after their death, which is the highest rate in Britain.
MSPs previously agreed the general principles of the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill at earlier stages of the legislation's passage through parliament. This was backed by a total of 107 MSPs.