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New survey shows Scots support for organ donation highest in UK

Published: 10 Sep 2015 08:00

Public Health Minister visits Transplant Unit at Royal Infirmary Edinburgh

Scotland's capital city has the highest support for organ donation in the whole of the UK, a new survey released for National Transplant Week has shown.

The UK-wide research, carried out by Populus on behalf of NHS Blood and Transplant, shows that 56* per cent of people living in Edinburgh said they had joined the Organ Donor Register – ahead of closest rivals Plymouth and Belfast on 45* per cent.

According to the survey, Scotland has the highest percentage of people of all the UK regions who said they had registered to be an organ donor.

In Scotland, 2.2 million people are on the NHS Organ Donor Register – 41 per cent of the population. This compares to 33 per cent of the population of the UK.

The survey also shows support for organ donation remains high in Scotland, with 58 per cent of Scots saying they would want to donate their organs after death – 65* per cent living in Edinburgh and 54* per cent living in Glasgow.

Scotland also had the highest percentage of people surveyed (67 per cent) who thought that it was important to be an organ donor because 'it's the right thing to do'.

Public Health Minister, Maureen Watt, welcomed the results of the survey – which was commissioned for National Transplant Week - as she visited the Transplant Unit at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh this morning to meet staff and patients.

Ms Watt said: "We know that support for organ donation in Scotland is strong. We consistently have the highest percentage of people across the UK signed up to the Organ Donor Register and since 2008 we have seen an 82 per cent increase in the number of people donating their organs after death.

"However, less than one per cent of deaths in Scotland occur in circumstances where the person is able to donate their organs, so the more people that register, the more likely someone will be able to get the life-changing transplant they are desperately waiting for.

"Doctors will always try to seek the permission of a family member or loved one, if a person is ever in a position where they could donate their organs. But the survey shows that some people don't realise this. That is why it is so important that if you have joined the Organ Donor Register, you have the conversation and share your wishes with your friends and family."

In Scotland, 67 per cent of people surveyed said that it had been over a year since they had told a loved one about their decision to donate. 98 per cent of people who had had the conversation said that they found it easy.

Professor John Forsythe, Lead Clinician for Organ Donation and Transplantation in Scotland and Clinical Director of the Transplant Unit at the RIE, said: "We're delighted to be supporting National Transplant Week.

"Signing up to the Organ Donor Register is easy and one donor has the potential to save or transform many lives.

"Letting your family and friends know you would like to be an organ donor is really important too, so we would encourage everyone to discuss their donation wishes with loved ones, and think about signing up to the Organ Donor Register to save lives."

Notes to editors

  • *Please note: low base size under 100. On behalf of NHSBT, Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,072 UK adults aged 18+ by online survey between 5-6th August 2015. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk.
  • The Transplant Unit at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary undertakes well over 100 kidney transplants each year, plus almost the same number of liver transplants.
  • In 1995 the Renal Transplant Unit joined with the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit, so that the efforts of the transplant surgeons, doctors, nurses and other staff could be combined. In 2000, the unit's first combined kidney and pancreatic transplant was performed.