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29 January 2013
Assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash today announced Australian organ donation rates were at record levels.
Figures released by the Australian and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) and the Organ and Tissue Authority show organ donation outcomes in Australia in 2013 were the highest on record since national records began in 1989.
Minister Nash said, “Australia has achieved solid growth in donation rates, with 2013 representing a 58% increase over 2009 data, when the DonateLife Network was established. The number of transplant recipients has increased by 39% since 2009.
“In 2013, 1,122 Australians received a second chance at life because of the generosity of 391 organ donors and their families. The families of organ and tissue donors are to be thanked and commended for upholding the decision of their loved one and giving others the gift of life.”
Minister Nash acknowledged the significant progress made after four years of implementing the national reform programme since the DonateLife Network was set up in 2009.
“The growth in donation and transplantation outcomes since 2009 has resulted in an additional 314 Australians, or one in four transplant recipients, receiving a transplant out of the 1,122 total transplant recipients in 2013,” Minister Nash said.
“To put the growth in context historically, between 2000 and 2008, we saw an average of 200 donors annually. In 2013, there were 391 organ donors.
Minister Nash said this was a promising increase given that organ donation is such a rare event, and urged all Australians to discuss organ and tissue donation with their loved ones.
“Only around 1% of people die under the specific circumstances in hospital, where organ donation is possible, with many more having the opportunity to donate tissue. It is up to families to ultimately give final confirmation for organ and tissue donation to proceed.
“By speaking with your family today, and letting them know your donation decision, you could help save the lives of up to ten people in the future.”
Minister Nash also acknowledged the collaboration of the health sector in delivering improved outcomes.
“I acknowledge the partnerships between the Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority, state and territory governments, the DonateLife agencies, eye and tissue banks and clinical partners in helping to achieve the results for 2013,” Minister Nash said.
Key initiatives now underway to lift organ and tissue donation rates in Australia include:
- implementation of a clinical governance framework to support and guide hospital staff to provide quality organ and tissue donation services
- implementation and evaluation of the national Professional Education Program on family donation conversations and its impact on organ and tissue donation consent rates
- implementation of eye and tissue donation reform
- implementation of a nationally coordinated Indigenous Australian and culturally and linguistically diverse communication and engagement plan.
The Organ and Tissue Authority 2013 Performance Report is available on the DonateLife website.
Minister Nash: Carolyn Martin, 0417 966 328.
Organ and Tissue Authority: Suzi Clark, 02 6198 9895; 0434 664 739.