Organ Donation Teaching Resource Pack

Teaching Pack for use in High Schools

Organ Donation
Teaching Resource Pack


These resources have been written as a response to a recommendation made by the Scottish Transplant Group. This Group began meeting in February 2001. Its remit is to give advice and make recommendations to the Scottish Executive on matters relating to organ donation and transplantation, this being an area in which Health Ministers both then and now have shown particular interest. It soon became very clear to the Group that raising awareness about organ donation and transplantation was crucial and that education has a vital role in this process of awareness, particularly in the context of young people. The concept of the teaching resource pack was endorsed by the then Education Minister.

The need for donor organs is expected to increase as transplant surgery becomes increasingly common and more successful. However, transplantation is strictly limited by the number of available organs, and this is influenced by several factors:

  • improved management of patients with brain haemorrhage or head injury;
  • more people involved in car accidents are surviving;
  • dramatic decrease in road traffic accidents.

This is all good news, but the consequences are that not enough organs are available for transplantation, and the waiting lists are increasing.

The content of the pack is in keeping with the National Priorities. The Scottish Executive has identified five National Priorities which all Education Authorities must address in its Improvement Plan. The fourth National Priority is in the context of Values and Citizenship, and states that the Education Authority wants:

"To work with parents to teach pupils respect for self and one another and their interdependence with other members of their neighbourhood and society and to teach them the duties and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society."

The materials within this resource pack address this National Priority by raising awareness of the issues within transplantation and organ donation for our society today.

The general public has mostly positive views about organ donation, but often these do not translate into communication of their wishes to their loved ones, joining the NHS Organ Donor Register, or carrying a donor card. There is also a perceived general lack of knowledge amongst the general public about key concepts in organ donation and transplantation.

Apart from its intrinsic value as a teaching resource for both Personal and Social Education (PSE) and Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS), the development of this pack has the potential, in time, to create a generation who can make informed choices about organ donation. These materials therefore are written to create awareness, to impart information, and to encourage discussion on the ethical issues around organ donation and transplantation. It is then for young adults to make informed choices.

Knowledge and information should also reduce any possible fears and confusions which may persist around these issues.

These materials have been written with the collaboration of:

  • Scottish Executive Health Department;
  • NHS UK Transplant;
  • British Transplantation Society;
  • transplant co-ordinators;
  • surgeons and physicians;
  • Scottish Executive Education Department;
  • Scottish Health Promoting Schools Unit.


  • To create awareness in senior school pupils of matters related to organ donation and transplantation.
  • To discuss ethical issues surrounding organ donation and transplantation.
  • To be aware of work currently being done in transplantation and of future developments.
  • To empower young people to be able to make informed choices about organ donation and transplantation, from a knowledgeable context.

This pack has been developed with financial assistance from:
The Scottish Executive Health Department
NHS United Kingdom Transplant
The British Transplantation Society

Thanks also go to St Augustine's School, Edinburgh, for the secondment of Mrs Rosa Murray to work on its development, and to the transplant community in the UK for advice and assistance. The Executive is also grateful to the families who agreed to take part in the video.

ISBN 0 7559 0592 X

Published by
Scottish Executive
St Andrew's House

Further copies are available from
The Stationery Office Bookshop
71 Lothian Road
Edinburgh EH3 9AZ
Tel: 0870 606 55 66

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