Transplant Australia welcomes news that 2016 was a record-breaking year for organ and tissue donation in Australia, with more Australians and their families giving the gift of life than ever before.
According to the federal government, figures showed a best-ever 1,448 Aussies were given a second chance at life in 2016 due to the generosity of 503 deceased organ donors. This is 16 per cent better than the previous year, and resulted in a 17 per cent lift in the number of lives saved.
This is direct evidence that the National Reform Program for organ and tissue donation, supported by Transplant Australia, is working. Incremental change is having long-term results, and more people are being saved every year.
Transplant Australia Chairman, Jason Ryan, thanked the Organ and Tissue Authority and the entire DonateLife network for its commitment to improving donation in Australia.
“In the 10 years to 2008 there was an average of just 204 donors in Australia every year. This resulted in an average of less than 670 people receiving the gift of life every year. To achieve 503 donors with 1,448 people receiving a life-saving transplant, shows how successful the program has been to date,” Mr Ryan said.
Transplant Australia would also like to take this opportunity to thank our membership, which is made up of those whose lives have been touched by organ and tissue donation. Many Transplant Australia members shared their stories with the media in 2016, helping raise awareness of the need for more people to join the national register. They played a vital part in the push to increase donation rates, and thanks to their contribution, the numbers are climbing.
Mr Ryan also took the opportunity to remind people to join the Australian Organ Donor Register online at donatelife.gov.au. “There are still people on the waiting list, and still more lives to be saved. Joining the Australian Organ Donor Register is the clearest way of letting your family know your wishes.”
Transplant Australia looks forward to continuing to work with the Federal Government to improve donation rates further.
This includes improving access to the Australian Organ Donor Register, which Mr Ryan said “must be modernised to allow Australians to sign up to be to be an organ donor in a fast and simple way.”
“We now have clear evidence to demonstrate that a person is far more likely to be a donor if they are signed onto the register. In fact, the rate of consent is double when a person has registered, compared to the consent rate involving a family who has never discussed donation. We want to see Australia adopt a cutting-edge sign up process, together with compelling awareness campaigns.”