A new, updated version of the NHS Organ Donor Register was officially launched across the UK today, extending the choices a person has about their organ donation wishes.
As well as being able to record a decision to be an organ donor, the new Register will now, for the first time, enable people in Scotland to record their choice not to be an organ donor
Existing registrations from the old NHS Organ Donor Register have been transferred to the new Register by NHS Blood and Transplant.
Public Health Minister, Maureen Watt, said: “The new NHS Organ Donor Register provides a more modern system which extends the choices people can make.
“Whether you choose to be an organ donor or would like the NHS to know your decision not to be one, I would encourage everyone to take some time to think carefully about the important issue of organ donation and make your wishes known through the new Register.
“However it is also vitally important that people make their wishes known to family and friends so that those wishes can be honoured in the event of a loved one’s death.
“While joining the Register is important, two thirds of people who donated their organs in the last five years weren’t on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Families who are aware of their loved one’s organ donation wishes are twice as likely to say ‘yes’ to donating their organs.”
Stuart McMillan MSP commented:
“If you register without telling the people closest to you, it may come as a surprise to them. Knowing organ donation is what you would have wanted could make their decision a lot easier to live with at a time when they are trying to deal with their loss.
“Therefore the new Register provides an ideal opportunity for people across Scotland to make sure their choices are up-to-date and to talk to family and friends about their decision to donate.”
Notes to Editors
• The NHS Organ Donor Register is a national confidential database that holds the details of people who have registered their decision on whether they want to donate their organs and/or tissue after their death for transplantation. This information is used by authorised medical staff to establish whether a person wanted to donate.
• To find out more about organ donation and to join the new NHS Organ Donor Register, visit http://www.organdonationscotland.org
• 41 per cent of Scots are now on the NHS Organ Donor Register – the highest percentage of the population in the UK.
• One donor can save or transform up to seven lives and many more can be helped through the donation of tissues
• In Scotland, around 540 people are currently waiting for a transplant that will give them a second chance at life.
• Since 2010/11, the family authorisation rate for organ donation – when a family member agrees that donation can proceed – has increased from 57.1 per cent to 61.6 per cent. If the rate was to further increase to 80 per cent, around 90 more lives could be saved each year.