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Organ donation in Scotland

The stage 1 debate on the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill takes place in the Scottish Parliament on 26 February 2019.

BMA Scotland has long supported a move to a 'soft' opt-out system of organ donation as a way to increase donations and save lives.

Under an opt-out system there would be a presumption in favour of consent for organ donation unless a person had registered an objection in advance.

If an objection had not been registered, family members would still be given the opportunity to confirm whether the individual had any unregistered objection, as an extra safeguard, before any procedures went ahead.


Why change matters

  • In October 2017, around 580 people in Scotland with life-threatening illnesses were on the transplant waiting list. 
  • Only 45% of Scotland's population is registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
  • Statistically, more than one in 10 people on the waiting list will die before they get the transplant they need.
  • Surveys suggest that around 60% or more of the public support a shift to a 'soft' opt-out system.


Our campaign

As part of our campaign for an opt-out system, we spoke to patients, doctors and families affected by organ donation. Hear their stories in our video.


You can also read these blog posts from people affected by organ donation:

In 2016, we produced a briefing on organ donation and a 'soft' opt-out system for the Scottish Parliament.

Read our briefing

The BMA has been campaigning for a UK-wide opt-out system for organ donation since 1999.

Read more about our national campaign


Related content

Organ donation: move towards 'soft' opt-out in Scotland (BMA News)