A new campaign has been launched nationally and NHS Forth Valley is backing the call for people to register their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and share their decision with family and friends.
The Scottish Government campaign, ‘Don’t Leave Your Loved Ones in Doubt’, shares the perspective of an NHS blood and transplant specialist nurse approaching a potential donor family, highlighting the importance of making and sharing your organ and tissue donation decision to ensure loved ones are not left in any doubt about your choice and help to ensure your decision is honoured.
Under Scotland’s opt out system of organ and tissue donation, introduced in March 2021, people aged 16 and over have the choice to be a donor, or to opt out of donation.
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If someone chooses to do nothing, it is assumed they agree to be a donor if they die in circumstances where donation is possible, unless they are in a group for whom the law does not apply or donation would be against their views.
Recent figures show over half of people in Scotland (55.6 per cent) have now registered their donation decision – 52.6 per cent agreeing to be a donor and three per cent choosing to opt out.
Allan Rennie, chairperson of NHS Forth Valley’s organ donation committee, said: “If a loved one dies in circumstances where organ and tissue donation is a possibility, the role of the specialist nurse is to support families through the process.
“A sensitive discussion always takes place between the specialist nurse and the potential donor family. If a person has registered their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register, we share this information with the family to check it was their loved one’s latest view. If no decision has been recorded, families are asked if they have any information on their loved one’s views to ensure donation doesn’t proceed if the individual didn’t want it to.
“Organ and tissue donation is an important consideration for anyone but making that decision and sharing it can make it so much easier for your loved ones to ensure it is honoured.”
Minister for Public Health, Women's Health & Sport Maree Todd said: “Organ and tissue donation is a personal decision and everyone has a choice, either to register to be a donor or to opt out. Whatever the decision, the Scottish Government is urging everyone to record it on the NHS Organ Donor Register and share that decision with their family and friends.
“I welcome this important campaign highlighting the choices people have under the opt out system of organ and tissue donation, and why sharing that decision with loved ones is so vital.
“Only around one per cent of people die in a way that makes organ donation possible, which is usually in a hospital intensive care unit, meaning every opportunity for donation is precious.”