Australia’s organ donation reform an emerging international success story

Australia is forging ahead with its national organ donation reform program and gaining recognition and praise from international experts at the 2013 Organ Donation Congress.

Page last updated: 25 November 2013

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25 November 2013

Australia is forging ahead with its national organ donation reform program and gaining recognition and praise from international experts at the 2013 Organ Donation Congress.

Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash said Australia was implementing a national reform program based on world leading reform models, practice and evidence.

More than 560 organ and tissue donation and transplantation experts from 42 countries attended the 2013 Organ Donation Congress held in Sydney last Thursday to Sunday (November 21-24).

“The international donation and transplantation community is united in its shared aim of optimising organ and tissue donation for transplantation. Australia’s growth in its donation consent rate to over 60 per cent in less than just two years was noted as a very positive outcome,” Minister Nash said.

“Australia’s partnership with the Philadelphia-based Gift of Life Institute, which has the highest donation rate in the United States, to implement world best practice family donation conversation training has delivered specialist training to more than 600 frontline health professionals. The focus of the training is on ensuring that comprehensive support and information is provided to donor families in the rare position of considering organ donation.”

“I wish to acknowledge and thank the families who have had the strength and courage to honour the wishes of their loved ones in donating organs. Your gift of life has transformed the lives of thousands of Australians.”

A delegation of leading international experts from Croatia, Spain, the UK, USA and Canada met with the Organ and Tissue Authority in Canberra and conducted site visits in Melbourne before attending the four-day Congress.

“Discussions with international leaders in organ donation prior to and throughout the Congress confirmed that Australia is taking the right steps in clinical and social reform for achieving continued growth in organ donation comparable to world leaders such as Spain, Croatia and the United States," Minister Nash said.

Incoming President of the International Society for Organ Donation and Procurement (ISODP), and Executive Director of Canada’s Organ Donation and Transplantation Kimberley Young said; “Australia is an emerging international success story and by being in Sydney for this year’s Organ Donation Congress we feel that we are part of this story. The progress achieved in Australia to date has inspired and re-energised many of us internationally.”

Head of Croatia’s Institute for Transplantation and Biomedicine, Dr Mirela Busic noted that, “The level of change Australia has experienced in organ donation since 2009 – a 43% increase – is a positive result. It takes time to demonstrate the impact of reform initiatives and the Organ and Tissue Authority is taking the rights steps towards further improvement.”

Chairman of the 2013 Organ Donation Congress, Professor Jeremy Chapman said the international gathering showcased Australia’s progress in increased donation and transplantation outcomes, as well as our capabilities in medical research and clinical education.

“The Congress facilitated many new partnerships and will help to promote knowledge transfer and the translation of new research into practice,” Professor Chapman said.

“The information that was shared, debated and discussed at this Congress will lead to outcomes that touch the lives of people all over the world.”

The 2013 ISODP Congress was jointly hosted by the Organ and Tissue Authority and The Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand.

For more information visit the 2013 Organ Donation Congress website.

View fact sheets on international approaches to organ donation reform on the DonateLife website.

Senator Fiona Nash media adviser: Carolyn Martin, 02 6277 7424; 0417 966 328

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