Body donation in Scotland: guidance

A guide to donating your body to medical science in Scotland.

General information on body donation in Scotland for medical staff

It is important to note that  the donation of the body can only be made by the individual. The expression of a wish is not sufficient and the legal paperwork must be signed by the individual during their lifetime.

If you have a patient who wishes to donate their body to medical science you should provide them with the contact details of the bequest co-ordinator at the university of their choice, to enable them to make the relevant enquiries. If they are unable to make these enquiries themselves either you or the next of kin could do this on their behalf. We have provided the contact details for each university.

If you have a patient who has died and you are made aware that they have arranged to donate their body to medical science you should contact the bequest co-ordinator at the appropriate university as soon as possible. The co-ordinator will inform you of what steps should be taken next. If you are unsure of which university your patient registered with please contact your nearest university. It is possible that whilst your patient wished to make a bequest after their death they did not complete the appropriate paperwork with the university during their lifetime or make a witnessed declaration in their will. This paperwork is a legal requirement and it should be communicated to next of kin that if this is not in place it will not be possible for donation to proceed.

Next of kin should be made aware that, whilst the bequest co-ordinator will do everything they can to ensure the wishes of the deceased are carried out, the acceptance of a donated body cannot always be guaranteed.

Further information for medical staff can be obtained from your NHS Board's bereavement co-ordinator and/or via NHS Education for Scotland.



HM Inspector of Anatomy for Scotland
Scottish Government
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road

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