News

Organ donor registrations hit new high

Published: 26 Dec 2018 00:01

51.7% of Scotland's population are now on the register.

More people than ever are signed up to the Organ Donor Register in Scotland, latest figures show.

In 2018, there were 148,000 new registrations from people willing to be organ donors..

And the new registrations mean that the total number of people registered in Scotland has risen to a record high of almost 2.8 million - or 51.7% of Scotland's population.

Meanwhile, in the last year 829 people in Scotland received a transplant. However there are currently more than 550 people in Scotland waiting for an organ transplant which could save or transform their lives.

The Scottish Government is working on a package of measures to further increase the number of potential donors. This includes legislation introduced to the Scottish Parliament to move to a soft opt-out system for organ and tissue donation. A public consultation in 2017 showed 82% of respondents supporting this move.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

"It's great to have a record number of people on the Organ Donor Register. This increases the chance of a potentially life-saving and life-changing gift for someone this year. However, with more than 550 people still waiting for a transplant, I would encourage people to consider making it their New Year's resolution and join the Organ Donor Register. One donor can save up to nine lives and transform even more by donating tissue.

"Thanks to the generosity of donors and their families and the work of the NHS, we've seen great progress on organ donation over the last few years. We are working on a number of measures to increase donor numbers and save the lives of more people in Scotland.

"The move to a soft opt-out scheme aims to further increase the number of donors, while honouring the donation decision that a person has made in life."

Background

The figures and data below are from NHSBT

The number of opt-in registrations (148,488) in Scotland between 4 December 2017 and 3 December 2018. The total may increase as registrations are processed.

In 2017/18, 829 people in Scotland received an organ or cornea/sclera transplant.

As of 4 December, 563 people are waiting for a transplant.

On 4 December 2018, there were 2,796,456 people residing in Scotland on the UK Organ Donor Register (area defined by the ONS NHS Postcode Directory). This is 51.7% of the Scottish population. This is based on 5,404,700 of the Scottish population, figure taken from the mid 2016 population estimates from the Office of National Statistics.

The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill will change organ and tissue donation from the current 'opt-in' system to a soft 'opt-out' system. Under the proposed system, if someone has not stated a decision about donation, they may be deemed as having authorised it. 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.