Regional Health Minister and Minister responsible for the Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA), Dr David Gillespie today announced $14.9 million for OrganMatch, a world-class software system helping to save the lives of more Australians waiting for an organ transplant.
“While Australia is a leader in successful donation and transplant outcomes, this funding boost allows for continued improvements and efficiencies to be made to the bespoke OrganMatch system over the next four years,” Dr Gillespie said.
“Our aim is to increase access for more people and deliver better outcomes for those 1,850 Australians on the waitlist in need of a life-saving transplant.”
OrganMatch is Australia’s organ waitlisting and matching system, providing real time access for clinicians to share time critical information across tissue-typing labs, DonateLife agencies and transplant units.
Dr Gillespie said OrganMatch has changed the way organs are allocated to donors, enabling clinicians to achieve the best possible matching outcomes and prioritising patients who are highly sensitised - and hard to match for medical reasons - as well as young recipients and people who urgently need a transplant.
“Since the system went live in 2019, 31 highly sensitised patients have received a kidney transplant who otherwise would have been unlikely to find a suitable match without OrganMatch,” Dr Gillespie said.
“One of these recipients had been waiting for a kidney transplant for 17 years, while 12 had been waiting more than five years, and it’s heart-warming to know they now have a better-quality life.
“The system has also matched 29 young transplant recipients with high quality donor kidneys, giving them more years of life with their transplant.”
Dr Gillespie said the ability to save more lives through OrganMatch wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of donors and their families.
“Donor families benefit from this streamlined system too, with reduced timeframes between time of their loved one’s death and organ retrieval surgery, meaning they spend less time waiting in a hospital, and more time with family and friends when they most need that support,” Dr Gillespie said.
Dr Gillespie said this funding boost builds on the 2015-16 Budget measure ‘Accelerating growth in organ and tissue donation for transplantation’ in which the Coalition Government invested one-off funding of $4 million for the development of an Australian organ matching system to replace the outdated National Organ Matching System established in 1999.
OrganMatch is delivered through contractual arrangements between the OTA and Australian Red Cross LifeBlood.
Show your support for organ and tissue donation by signing up to be a donor and telling your family you want to be a donor. Register at: donatelife.gov.au, or through your myGov account, or in the Express Plus Medicare app when downloading your COVID-19 digital certificate.