Giving the gift of life

30,747 people in Scotland join NHS Organ Donor Register in 2017.  

More Scots have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register in 2017, with those who have not joined being encouraged to consider making it their New Year’s resolution for 2018. 

To date, 30,747 people have registered in 2017 – up from 28,393 in 2016. Scotland now has over 45% of the population on the Organ Donor Register, with many others saying they would be willing to donate their organs or tissue after they die, but have not yet joined.

In addition to efforts to increase numbers joining the Organ Donor Register, this year’s Programme for Government set out a commitment to bring forward legislation for a soft opt out system of organ and tissue donation.  

This is just one part of a package of measures already working to increase donor numbers. Scottish Government continues to work with a range of partners to increase public understanding of organ donation and encourage friends and family to discuss their choices.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said:

“It is amazing to see just how many potential donors have come forward – almost 31,000 people have given a potentially life-saving and life-changing gift this year.  As everyone starts thinking about their New Year’s resolutions for 2018, I would encourage them to consider joining the Organ Donor Register.

“We’ve seen great progress on organ donation in recent years – a testament to the work of NHS staff and to the incredible generosity of donors and their families. But there will always be more we can do, and that’s why we will bring forward plans for a soft opt out system of donation.

“However opt out is just one of a range of measures aimed at increasing donation. Through all our work, I hope in 2018 we can continue to improve public understanding of what it means to be a donor, support friends and families to talk more openly about those choices, and see more people joining the organ donor register.”


Figure for 2017 are as of December 26. The total may increase as registrations are processed.

We will introduce legislation for a ‘soft’ opt out system of organ and tissue donation in this Parliamentary year. This would mean that, in addition to “opting in”  donation could also proceed where a person had not opted-out. There would also be safeguards to minimise the risk of a person becoming a donor if they would not have wished to donate.

People in Scotland can register to become an organ donor through the Organ Donation Scotland website,


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