THE number of patients in Scotland who received life-changing organ donations has reached a record high, according to new figures.
In 2016-17 the number of people who donated organs after death increased by a third compared to the previous year – rising from 99 to 133. This gives Scotland the highest donor rate in the UK, at 24.8 per million of population.
Last year also saw the highest ever number of transplants as 348 people in Scotland waiting for an organ received one from a deceased donor.
Other figures from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) showed that the number of people in Scotland waiting for a transplant dropped to the lowest on record. Nearly 2.4 million people in Scotland are on the NHS Organ Donor Register – around 45 per cent of the Scottish population.
Public health minister Aileen Campbell welcomed the figures and said the Scottish Government had exceeded its target to have 25 deceased donors per million of population by 2020. But she said more work needed to be done to ensure as many people as possible received the transplants they need.
She also paid tribute to donors and their families, saying: “We must always be mindful that most organ and tissue donation can only occur as a result of tragic circumstances and I’d like to thank every donor and their family who made the selfless decision to donate their organs or tissue and enabled others to live and transform their lives.
“I’m also very grateful to staff across the NHS in Scotland who work tirelessly to ensure that people’s donation wishes are respected and that every donation counts.”
The Scottish Government’s recently held a consultation on a soft-opt-out organ donation system where a person’s organs could be taken for transplant after death unless they had specifically requested this should not happen. The responses are currently being analysed and Ms Campbell said they have “a presumption in favour” with more information due to be published in the coming months.