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Highland residents urged to make their organ donor decision known to their family as the NHS Organ Donor Register marks its 25th anniversary

By Ian Duncan

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NHS Highland logo.
NHS Highland logo.

PEOPLE in the Highlands are being encouraged to make their organ donation decision known as the NHS Organ Donor Register marks its recent 25th anniversary.

Since its creation in October 1994 there have been 1,868 organ donors in Scotland – one third of which were on the register – leading to more than 6,200 lives either saved or improved.

In Highland, 51.5 per cent of the population are currently on the NHS Organ Donor Register, with just over 2.6 million people, or 49 per cent of the Scottish population, having already registered their donation decision nationally.

The centralised donor register allows specialist nurses in organ donation to quickly and easily check if someone has indicated they wish to donate and the register will continue to play an important role when a law around organ and tissue donation changes next autumn.

The change in law means that if people have not confirmed whether they want to be an organ donor, it may be assumed they are willing to donate when they die.

Dr Marian MacKinnon, the clinical lead for organ donation at NHS Highland, said: “Organ donation is a precious gift which saves and transforms lives. On this landmark anniversary and ahead of the law changing in Autumn 2020, we’re encouraging people to think about their donation decision and make it known.

“As families are always involved in organ donation discussions, you can make it easier for them by telling them what you would want to happen.

"Everyone has a choice, and they can record their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register at any time.”

It is recommended that those who wish to donate their organs should have a sensitive discussion with their family and any decision registered will be made available to families to help them support what their relative would have wanted.

Everyone has a choice, people are being encouraged to make their organ decision known, now and in the lead up to the law change, by recording it on the register and, more importantly, talking to their family about what they would want to happen.

There are more than 550 people in Scotland currently waiting for a transplant – one donor can save or transform the lives of up to nine people or even more by donating tissue.

People can find out more about the opt out system of organ and tissue donation, and their choices at organdonationscotland.org

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