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Review into Organ Donation

Fiona Nash

Transplant Australia has welcomed the announcement by the Federal Government of an independent review into organ and tissue donation in Australia.

Acknowledging the decision by the Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, the Chief Executive Officer of Transplant Australia, Chris Thomas, said Australians should continue to have great confidence in our system of donation in this country.

“Since 2009 the Organ and Tissue Authority has laid the foundations for sustainable and everlasting change. There are 1,204 additional Australians alive today thanks to these improvements.

“We know there is much more to work to do and acknowledge the value in the decision to review performance as a sensible check on how well transplant outcomes are being delivered across Australia. It is important to ensure our donation system matches world’s best practice.”

Transplant Australia believes further changes to enhance donation include encouraging as many Australians as possible to register their decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and then ensuring both clinicians and society respect that decision.

“Family veto is a huge concern to many Australians who believe in donation. Quite simply they want confidence that their decision won’t be overturned. It is obviously important to work with families at time of donation. However we need a system that encourages families to honour their loved one’s decision and legacy rather than asking them to ‘re-consent’ when it has already been given through the register,” Mr Thomas said.

“Evidence here and overseas demonstrates that if a person is on the register there is a 95 per cent likelihood of becoming a donor if the situation arises. If that person is not registered, the consent rate varies between 45 and 60 per cent. Surely then the message is to encourage as many people as possible to register their consent?”

Transplant Australia looks forward to contributing to the review to ensure that our rate of donation continues to increase giving more Australians access to life-saving transplants and values the Government’s commitment to this important area of health.

*23% of all transplant recipients since 2009 have received a transplant because of the growth in donation rates since 2009. In the same period there has been a 38% increase in the number of transplant recipients.

May 27, 2015

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